Catherine Ashton Urges Focus on Implementation of EU Action Plan for Afghanistan

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during the NATO summit in November in Lisbon. European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says implementing existing strategies in Afghanistan should be a priority for the bloc. Photo by: European Union

With the strategic framework of the European Union’s civilian and military efforts in Afghanistan already in the place, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says implementing existing strategies should now be a priority.

The EU Action Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, approved in October 2009, supports more coordinated development efforts of the bloc in the Islamic nation.

National priority programs, developed by Afghan officials themselves, “pave the way for transition across a range of sectors and we now need to support them, which is precisely what the EU Action Plan is doing,” Ashton told the European Parliament on Dec. 15.

“We all know that there can be no sustainable military ‘exit’ from Afghanistan without a civilian framework for stability that can keep the country together. More effective state institutions, better governance, access to basic services, justice and rule of law are just as important as ‘hard security,’” Ashton said.

The European Union will help improve the capacity of Afghan state institutions particularly, at the subnational level, she said.

Meanwhile, in a rare press conference on Dec. 15 in Kabul, the International Committee of the Red Cross said the Afghan security situation has deteriorated to its lowest point since the U.S. and its allies overthrew Taliban rule in the country in 2001.

>> ICRC: Afghanistan Security Situation at its Worst in 10 Years

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  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.