Message from the Ambassador, December 2008
As year 2008 draws to a close, Afghanistan enters a new year that will be marked not just by hopes and opportunities but also fears and challenges. 2008 was a difficult year for the
Afghan people. We saw not just the highest level of losses of life among hte Afghan people and the international forces based in Afghanistan, but also terrorist violence engulfing Pakistan and spreading even more widely across the region, including India.
Beyond security, a worsening humanitarian situation was exacerbated by drought and environmental conditions, triggering urgent appeals for humanitarian assistance from the international community.
On the other hand, 2008 also saw continuing progress on all fronts. In two critical conferences in Bucharest and Paris, the international community reiterated its strong commitment to Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s national army took greater responsibility in counter terrorism operations; significant foreign investment – particularly in the mining sector – was received, and greater results were achieved in the education and health sectors. More notably, President Karzai’s efforts at improving governance were translated in several tangible actions at the national and provincial level.
We begin 2009 hoping for a better, more peaceful year than the one we have left behind. The most important event in 2009 will be Afghanistan’s elections in the autumn. These will open a new horizon of hope and political maturity in the Afghan society.