Afghan President Hamid Karzai today called for continued political and military support in his country until 2024—a full decade beyond the planned 2014 withdrawal of American and other forces. "We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade," Karzai said to a group of leaders assembled at a conference in Bonn, Germany. In addition, he asked for financial assistance to extend until 2030.
The conference was meant to lay the groundwork for a government in Afghanistan that could sustain itself, but the New York Times reports that it fell short of its original objectives. No one from the Taliban attended, and at this point, few officials expect reconciliation talks between officials and the Taliban to even begin by the 2014 date, the Times notes. Even so, Karzai and others touted the progress made in Afghanistan since the Taliban fell 10 years ago, such as a huge boost in the number of Afghans with mobile phones. Pakistan, meanwhile, boycotted the conference to protest the recent NATO airstrikes that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.