Steinmeier raps int’l community for lagging behind in Afghan reconstruction pledges


Berlin : German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized the international community for falling behind in its efforts to fulfill its commitments in the rebuilding process of war-torn Afghanistan.

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"Without a doubt, we do not have an easy situation in Afghanistan.

Without a doubt, all of us were not able to proceed with the rebuilding of Afghanistan as quickly as we would have all liked to do," Steinmeier told the Berlin-based foreign media on Thursday.

"The point is that we have to jointly make it up with those who are in charge in Afghanistan. What's important is whether we are meeting our self-commitments toward the Afghan people and the Afghan government. We have one goal, namely to return Afghanistan into the hands of Afghans," he added.

Steinmeier stressed the crucial role of the international community in reconstructing Afghanistan, especially in the sectors of infrastructure, health and education.

He said that it was important that Afghans would eventually be able to take security matters into their hands by having a strong police force and an army.

The minister pointed out while the initial goal was to have 85,000-man Afghan army, only around 30,000 Afghan soldiers have so far been fully equipped and trained.

Meanwhile, he also hailed European efforts to play a greater role in training Afghan police.

Germany is mostly involved in the Afghan civilian reconstruction process as well as training the Afghan police force.

Berlin has been at odds with our western powers like the US, Britain and Canada for focusing too much on the military campaign in Afghanistan rather than civilian reconstruction efforts.

Some 3,000 German troops are based in northern Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).