Former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Obama Administration (2011-2012)
The Alliance in Support of the Afghan People (ASAP) is a coalition dedicated to preserving and protecting progress made by the Afghan people over the last 12 years. We seek to amplify Afghan civil society voices in policy discussions and support their aspirations for further political and economic development and the protection of basic human rights.
The ongoing transition process and military drawdown will determine the country’s future and shape regional security conditions. Despite formidable obstacles, a critical opportunity exists to protect and sustain the progress and investments of the last decade for all Afghans, particularly women and youth. With only a small number of international forces in a training and deterrence capacity, Afghanistan’s international partners should prioritize support for a rights respecting Afghan National Security Force, strengthening the economy, reinforcing democratic processes and educating Afghanistan’s next generations. Upcoming elections in 2014 and 2015 pose a vital challenge and a great opportunity for continued progress in Afghanistan.
Through advocacy activities in Washington DC ASAP aims to:
1. Support a Credible Political Transition, including:
- Free, fair and timely elections with independent electoral bodies that can produce a result broadly acceptable to the Afghan public.
- Women’s political rights are respected, including through the wide deployment of female election workers and adequate security at polling sites, resulting in meaningful participation in the elections.
- Inclusive peace process that addresses the causes of conflict, respect democratic principles, fundamental rights, and involve all Afghans, including women and youth.
2. Support effective and accountable international assistance, including:
- Continued assistance to help empower a new generation of Afghan men and women to lead Afghanistan’s thriving civil society and embrace new opportunities.
Mechanisms which make assistance more accountable and effective, including:
- Lean, smart investment directly to Afghan institutions and organizations where possible.
- Adherence by both the Afghan Government and international donors to financial transparency commitments.
- Commitment to reform and implementation of the rule of law, in line with Afghanistan’s international human rights commitments and the Tokyo agreement.
- Efforts to increase Afghan domestic revenue so the Afghan State can assume full sovereignty and move towards financial self-sufficiency.
3. Highlight often overlooked progress and gains made over the last 12 years, including:
- Over 8 million children enrolled in schools including 2.6 million girls.
- Women’s right to work, vote, receive an education, and play leading roles in society.
- Dramatic improvement in maternal and infant mortality rates.
- Access to modern communications: 80% of women have access to a mobile phone, 95% of the population has access to some form of mass media (television, radio), and 472,000 Afghans are on Facebook.
- A thriving media sector including more than 50 television stations, 150 radio broadcasters and 1,000 newspapers.
- A rapidly growing commercial sector including more than 16,000 new businesses registered between 2004 and 2011.
ASAP is generously supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Open Society Foundation.
The future is bright. Hear from those who are forging the new Afghan future.
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