On December 5, 2011, the German government and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) collaborated to host a youth conference on Afghanistan in conjunction with the hugely important international conference on Afghanistan in Bonn, chaired by President Karzai exactly ten years after the first Bonn conference.
The 50 students were concerned that the planned NATO troop withdrawals by 2014 would stymie the reconstruction and reform efforts. Remarks by Gudrun Kopp, MDB, the German State Secretary at the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and by Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, as well as my own, I hope reassured them that the international community has pledged to continue its work in Afghanistan through 2014 and beyond.
Indeed, the Bonn conference results speak of a "transition to the transformation decade of 2015-2024." This phrase captures most eloquently the determination expressed by the foreign ministers gathered at Bonn to continue to dedicate their financial support and expertise to Afghanistan's government and civil society as they work to take charge of and lead governance, economic, health, education and security sectors in the reforms demanded by the Afghan people.
The dedication and resolve of this young group will ensure Afghanistan's future.