The French ambassador in Kabul has delivered a starkly pessimistic farewell speech questioning the achievements of more than 11 years of international intervention in Afghanistan.
Bernard Bajolet, who has been appointed as France’s new spy chief, rejected the normally cautious language of international diplomacy to express fears that Afghanistan faces an almost impossible series of challenges next year.
“I still cannot understand how we, the international community, and the Afghan government have managed to arrive at a situation in which everything is coming together in 2014,” he told guests at his farewell party on Tuesday.
“Elections, new president, economic transition, military transition -- and all this whereas the negotiations for the peace process have not really started,” he said.
“But we have this situation in front of us and we have to cope with it.”
Bajolet also had harsh words of warning about Afghanistan’s prospects as a sovereign country when the NATO-led military combat mission ends next year and with international interest in the country fading rapidly.