Afghans, not foreigners, to inaugurate projects
New York, March 8, 2007 (Paktribune): Inauguration of roads, a school or a developmental work by the military officials of the US or other international forces in Afghanistan could soon be a thing of the past.
It is the elected representatives of the Afghanistan who would be seen performing this duty cutting ribbons or inaugurating new projects and thus taking credit for the massive developmental works which is now being done with international assistance.
This is part of our effort to let the Afghan Government develop its own ability to speak on behalf of its people, Gregory Sullivan, Director of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy for South and Central Asian Affairs, told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview.
Afghans do not want to hear about their development form the British or the US. They would like to hear this from their own government and own representative, he said.
As of now, it is the senior military officials of the NATO-led international forces who do the inauguration of various projects and thus take credit for the same.
A say of the elected representatives in developmental works, even though it could appear to be symbolic to many -- would not only increase the credibility but also reach of the Afghan Government.
Sullivan said they have been discussing this issue with the Afghan Government that they should take credit for the developmental projects.
Recent developments, in fact, indicate that the Karzai Government is moving in this direction. We have got signals that they are interested in such inaugural events, which would send positive signal to the people of Afghanistan, he said, adding: People would start to see more of that this year.
President Hamid Karzai is himself interested in moving around the country and taking the powerful message that his government is trying to reach out to people.
Sullivan said a massive developmental work is now being planned so as to not only generate employment, but also they become facilitators of lasting peace in this country. Referring to the well-known saying in the US administration these days that Where Road ends, the Taliban begins, he said a lot of emphasis is on developing a network of roads throughout the country, connecting all the major cities with each other and then cities with villages.
The Bush Administration had recently announced an additional aid of $11.6 billion for Afghanistan in the next two years, a large chunk of which has been kept for developmental works, particularly construction of physical infrastructure like road and power.
All this, he hoped, would expand the presence of the Afghan Government; bring in influence to its representatives among the people.