Rebuilding Afghanistan Requires a "Heavier Footprint"
in Angela Drakulich, ed, A Global Agenda: Issues before the 58th General Assembly of the United Nations
(New York: UNA-USA, 2003), pp 102-3
In Afghanistan, the United Nations has opted for a "light footprint" approach to state-building. The Organization has focused on bolstering the country's capacity for governance, security and development without extensive political, military or economic engagement. Unlike Timor-Leste and Kosovo, in which U.N. peacekeeping missions have led the process of State-building with extensive political mandates—the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan acts merely as a support system for the Afghan Transitional Administration. As a result, there have been both successes and failures in the rebuilding of the country, although the latter seem to be higher in number. Since the conclusion of the Bonn Agreement and the establishment of the Afghan Interim Authority in December 2001, millions of Afghan refugees have come back home. Roads, bridges and buildings—even though mostly in Kabul and its surroundings—are being rebuilt. Women serve as ministers in Afghan President Hamid Karzai's cabinet, which was elected by the traditional Afghan Loya Jirga in June 2002. The country has a new currency and has even planted its flag in cyberspace, winning legal and technical control over the 'af' internet suffix. And, for the first time in decades, Afghanistan's neighboring countries have agreed not to interfere in its internal affairs. Full Text