The international community is now committed to supporting the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, the senior United Nations envoy for the country, told reporters in Islamabad today.
"It will be a task of mammoth proportions, requiring this financial effort and the support of all those countries which have failed Afghanistan for all these years," said Mr. Brahimi. "They have promised not to repeat the mistakes of the past - that is very encouraging."
"The biggest countries in the world recognize publicly that they failed Afghanistan in the past, that they left the Afghan people to themselves and they are saying - and I think we should give the benefit of the doubt - that they want to now help the people of Afghanistan," he said.
Emerging attention to Afghanistan has coincided with grave suffering there, Mr. Brahimi pointed out. "My visit has taken place at a time that the international community has renewed interest in the crisis in Afghanistan," he said. "Unfortunately, at the same time, and for reasons we all are painfully aware of, Afghanistan is also undergoing another crisis, another tragedy."
Mr. Brahimi also emphasized that, according to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a resolution to the problem must be sustainable over the long term and truly reflect the aspirations of the Afghan people.
Concerning the humanitarian situation, the envoy paid tribute to relief workers, who he said "are doing a heroic job trying to deliver aid to the millions of people in Afghanistan who need it in extremely difficult conditions and they do it with dedication, courage and, dignity." The UN was giving priority to the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, working "against terrible odds and also against time, as winter is drawing very near."