World must take care of Kabul too: Spanta
The tensions in the Middle East must not deflect international attention from Afghanistan's development as the war in Iraq has done, Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said.
"It is true that the situation in Iraq has, even if it was in the smallest measure, pushed development in Afghanistan to the backburner. That is a fact," the minister told the agency in an interview this week.
The war launched by the United States in 2003 against Iraq obliged Washington to re-deploy some of its forces to Iraq to the detriment of the fight against the Taliban insurgents and their Al-Qaeda allies in Afghanistan.
"But on the other hand, in the course of my meetings in Washington and Brussels, I have been given support and assurances, even generous assurances, and I have confidence the international community is not going to leave Afghanistan all alone," the minister said.
On top of this, Afghanistan's allies had made a firm commitment to helping the war-damaged and destitute country, notably at the London conference at the beginning of the year.
"I work from the principle that the international community is going to keep its promises made to Afghanistan," said Spanta, who took his post in May.
In London about 20 countries and multilateral organisations pledged 10.5 billion dollars for Afghanistan over the next five years.
The country is determined to meet its own side of the bargain, including promoting good governance, human rights and the rule of law and fighting corruption, Spanta said.
The minister said his recent meetings with senior officials from Afghanistan's international allies had shown there was clear support for the direction President Hamid Karzai is taking the country.
Karzai has come under criticism recently as frustration has grown about the instability in war-weary Afghanistan as the Taliban's insurgency shows no sign of abating.
The extremists were removed from government by a US-led coalition in 2001 and are now trying to overthrow the new administration.