Former Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, Obama Administration (2009-2013)
The Alliance in Support of the Afghan People (ASAP) is a coalition dedicated to protecting and advancing progress made by the Afghan people over the last 12 years. As a network we are non-partisan, non-aligned and apolitical. 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 Defense and Security Force, strengthening the economy, reinforcing democratic processes and educating Afghanistan’s next generations. A free, democratic Afghanistan that is a responsible and effective member of the international community will be America’s best defense against terrorism, extremism, instability and criminality.
Through advocacy activities in Washington DC ASAP aims to:
1. Support the development of an Afghanistan that continues building a society where the human rights of all Afghans are increasingly secured.
To these ends we urge the United States and the international community to continue active involvement in Afghanistan and continued support for efforts toward:
- Helping a reform-focused government deliver measurable improvements in governance, and free and fair elections with independent election bodies.
- Ensuring that women’s rights are respected, including meaningful appointments at senior levels of government and civil service positions, and full engagement in elections.
- Building Afghan National Defense and Security Forces capable of defending their own country and preventing the re-emergence or incursion of terrorist networks while providing financial and key enabling support,
- Advancing the rule of law and respect for human rights, including by the ANSF.
- Building a self-reliant economy that improves the revenue base, rewards Afghan entrepreneurship and expands relations with regional and global markets.
- An inclusive peace process that respects democratic principles, fundamental rights, and involves all Afghans, including women, youth, and historically marginalized groups.
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. Inform the American public about the gains made in Afghanistan since 2001, the nature of the continued challenges it faces, and the potential for the country to succeed. Emphasize the importance of a generational commitment to building on that progress, in areas including:
- Over 8 million children enrolled in schools including 2.6 million girls…but quality is basic and needs rapid improvement.
- Women have the hard-won legal rights to work, vote, receive an education, be treated fairly by security forces, and play leading roles in society…but for too many these rights still need to be implemented in daily life.
- Afghans have seen dramatic improvement in maternal and infant mortality rates…but moving from among the 10 worst places to live to among the 30 worst means more must be done.
- With huge improvements in 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 makes Afghanistan the regional leader in press freedom, but threats to freedom of expression continue.
- With a rapidly growing commercial sector including more than 16,000 new businesses registered between 2004 and 2011, Afghanistan’s economy has great potential, but uncertain security, weak rule of law, poor and arbitrarily enforced regulations, and corruption must be addressed in order to realize this potential.
- Afghan Security Forces are fighting and dying to secure their country against increasing levels of violence from the Taliban, while new threats, such as from Daesh (IS) are emerging. Afghans continue to volunteer to serve their country, but as casualties increase and as greater capabilities are deployed against Afghan forces, the need for continued specialist assistance from international allies becomes more apparent, in particular developing intelligence and logistical capabilities.
ASAP is supported by private foundations and private individuals’ donations. No government assistance is accepted.