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Editorial: Regional projects

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is all set to host the regional countries in Brussels, Belgium, to garner support for launching mega and important projects in the region. The conference in Belgium is aimed to convince the countries for regional cooperation in order to launch different infrastructure projects and facilitate transit trade in the region plagued by extremism and insecurity. According to Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani an agreement signed between the Afghan foreign and finance ministries was submitted to the policymakers of the regional countries for review in order to improve regional cooperation in different areas. The Afghan government and the European Union are working together on invitation letters to make the coming summit successful.

The summit is very important for the region, particularly for Afghanistan. Therefore, the Presidential Palace is taking special interest in it. The leaders have decided to sketch plans for regional cooperation within two months for the conference. As per expectations, representatives of nearly 70 countries and 30 international organizations would participate in the Brussels summit.  The conference will be co-hosted by the EU and Afghan government on October 5 with clear objectives. How the Afghan leadership will convince the regional countries and international agencies for cooperation depends on the plans. If the plans were drafted carefully, the outcome of this important conference will be satisfactory and could usher in a whole new era of development and mutual understanding.

Therefore, the Afghan policymakers should take due care while drafting the scheme for the summit. Failure of the conference will not only earn a bad image for the current government, but will also affect the future cooperation between Afghanistan and regional countries. Convincing the international agencies and regional countries on broader cooperation will not be easy, especially sans successful fight against corruption and extremism.

Unfortunately, the war on graft has not gain momentum despite pledges of the top leadership. Corruption is still rampant in the public sector; though a few officials were arrested recently on the charges of graft. Hiring at many key posts in the government departments was based on nepotism and favoritism. Making the country poppy free is still a pipe dream. Moreover, protection of human rights, especially women and children’s rights is just a slogan used during seminars and talk shows by the government officials.

Afghan authorities will find themselves in troubled waters in Brussels if they failed to accelerate the anti-corruption drive. In addition to accelerating the anti-graft campaign, the government should also assure the international community that it is serious about elimination of violence against women and children.

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