The Paris donors' conference that opened June 12 provides a pivotal opportunity to correct past mistakes in Afghanistan's reconstruction effort. Already, Afghanistan's supporters have pledged additional billions in development assistance. But to ensure that the aid is deployed successfully, a greater level of strategic coordination is needed.
Calling the Paris conference "a decisive moment" for Afghanistan's future, US First Lady Laura Bush opened the conference with an announcement that Washington was pledging $10.2 billion in aid. Overall, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's administration is hoping the Paris conference can generate as much as $50 billion in new assistance. Karzai also wants foreign governments and international aid organizations to work more closely with the Afghan government. "The current development process that is marred by confusion and parallel structures undermines institution building," Karzai said in Paris.
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M. Ashraf Haidari is the Political Counselor of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC. His e-mail is: email@example.com