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What will the Kabul conference achieve?

07:29 UK time, Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has renewed a call for his country to control its own security by 2014. Can the country achieve this?

A major conference on Afghanistan, attended by representatives from 70 countries, has endorsed Mr Karzai's goal for Afghan forces to lead security operations by 2014.

The talks ended with an agreement to channel 50% of aid - up from 20% - through the Afghan government.

What will the day-long conference achieve for Afghanistan's future? Will the meeting be a milestone? How will it be remembered? Are you in the region?

Lyse Doucet will be among BBC correspondents assessing the impact of the Kabul meeting. You can follow Lyse on Twitter.

What will come out of the 'historic' Kabul conference?

There is more coverage at BBC World Service and BBC World News.

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Well from the news reports I've seen recently it would seem that the conference can achieve one of 2 things.

    1. Nato pulls out now - Afghanistan has a civil war.

    2. Nato pulls out in 4 years - Afghanistan has civil war.

    One particularly depressing C4 report I watched basically stated that the allies are now rearming the citizen militias who they had previously disarmed, crating new 'warlords' and strengthening others all to aid the fight against the Taliban.

    According to the report this proxy war being fought between militias, warlords and the Taliban is pretty much exactly where Afghanistan was before any Nato troops stepped foot in it.

    Thats the progress we've made in 9 years.

  • Comment number 2.

    If they hooked up some wind turbines to the conference centre, the amount of hot air produced would probably sort their energy supply problems for a few years.

    Why though is so much time and energy being expended on one country that historically has seen off all invaders, might not have a 'western friendly' way of doing things, but seems to have been capable of running itself for a very long time.

  • Comment number 3.

    What will it achieve? Bags of money for corrupt officials. Free trade in
    drugs from the poppy fields. Juicy contracts for private armies (security organizations). More deaths of UK soldiers. Heavier taxation for UK citizens. Probably a switch to another country for the next war to keep the arms industry going. Massive influx of immigrants from Afghanistan who, for some strange reason do not want a medieval society in their own country but will insist on a medieval style community here.
    And hopefully, the end of Cameron's government and maybe, just maybe, a major political party that will oppose future military adventures of this kind.
    Thanks for asking BBC. Hopefully I have avoided words that the moderation computer searches for.

  • Comment number 4.

    A total waste of time. Karzai wants more control of the aid donations. It is not hard to see where it will be going. The US and UK governments are either more stupid than I had thought or have yet another devious agenda.

    Pull out now or in 2014? Either way will have a deflated defense industry and unemployed soldiers so we will need to start another conflict somewhere. Again it is probably not too hard to forecast where that will be.

    What...me cynical?

  • Comment number 5.

    If I am a responsible , I will not let the US or NATO out of Afghanistan unless full assurance of Afghan government.
    President Karzai has promised many things, but he has failed to stop corruption. Security , Education , Health ,
    I think this conference has achieved only name in the world by media.

    Pull out the troops will result fail state.

  • Comment number 6.

    Zilch.

  • Comment number 7.

    What will the conference acheive?

    A jolly nice day out for all the officials and hangers on!

    Yet more money wasted on this joke of a nation. When will the politicians realise that nothing is going to change over there?

    Troops out NOW!

  • Comment number 8.

    3. At 09:25am on 20 Jul 2010, Davidethics wrote:
    What will it achieve? Bags of money for corrupt officials. Free trade in
    drugs from the poppy fields. Juicy contracts for private armies (security organizations). More deaths of UK soldiers. Heavier taxation for UK citizens. Probably a switch to another country for the next war to keep the arms industry going. Massive influx of immigrants from Afghanistan who, for some strange reason do not want a medieval society in their own country but will insist on a medieval style community here.
    And hopefully, the end of Cameron's government and maybe, just maybe, a major political party that will oppose future military adventures of this kind.
    Thanks for asking BBC. Hopefully I have avoided words that the moderation computer searches for.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Sound predictions, but Cameron's government are not responsible for this mess, that is the Labour Party's fault. It is not politically possible for Cameron to just abandon a US/NATO operation, no matter how misguided. As for further adventures, the USA has already conscripted Israel to attack Iranian nuclear facilities using runways in Saudi Arabia. The last UK government also tacitly approved this move.
    Despite the self-serving Ed Balls and the Millibands now repudiating the Iraq invasion, what hope can there be for 'a major political party' opposing this kind of adventure?

  • Comment number 9.

    When US forces leave Afghanistan, it will once again be plunged into a civil war and becoming a breeding ground for terrorism. Pakistan will encourage Taliban to occupy it. They have done it before, they can do it now. An International UN force comprising of several nations should be permanently stationed in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 10.

    Pull them out now, why wait until 2014?

    I see no difference in security whether it is now or in 4 years, 5 years, or even 10 years. Whenever it happens the Taliban will just bully and corrupt the whole country as before and then it will be back to square one.
    If we pull out now we could save the lives of yet more servicemen & women.
    Russia, even with their huge military could not defeat the Taliban and retreated. So why should we be any different. It's already a fact that we are not winning this war!

  • Comment number 11.

    A pretty desperate situation, mostly of the West's own making, but that's little comfort to the Afghans now. The best thing would be to lsiten to someone who actually knows something about Afghanistan and doesn't have vested interests or is compromised: Rory Stewart is one such person (perhaps the best there is) who has already made it clear what needs to be done. Not a single member of the military can claim as much down to earth knowledge of the country and its peoples.

  • Comment number 12.

    Afghanistan was attacked by Alexander the Great 2340 years ago, so it certainly will survive the NATO/UN/US-UK, or whatever kind of imperialism as well. The latest shameful destruction of the country is just one of its kind. It will be over and unfortunately will be forgotten soon. Regret for the casualties.
    Good luck to Afghanistan, peace and unity to them...

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the conference will reveal that the trouble in Afghanistan comes from across the border in Pakistan. I am amazed that Pakistan still tries to claim that they are crucial in stabilizing Afghanistan.

    the only value that Pakistan can claim to bring to the table is "nuisance value".

    The earlier Pakistan ISI is taught a tough lesson, the better, And only then peace will reign in the region. Conference attendees please take note.

  • Comment number 14.

    Afghanistan is having some help and must use it to build its OWN future. Make 2014 the date and make sure they will take over the responsibility for running their country rather than having doubts because the people of countries sending troops will not tolerate it for much longer.

  • Comment number 15.

    Little to nothing. Karzai is a corrupt US puppet and has stated that he wants Afghanistan to be responsible for its security after from 2014. I doubt that this will happen. The current situation shows that from 9 years ago things have gotten worse. The allies are suffering more and more casualties every month. To stop this happening there needs to be a change in strategy and for definitive objectives to be stated as well as a political base that is not a puppet one and not corrupt. Until that happens, conferences such as this are pointless.

  • Comment number 16.

    9. At 10:23am on 20 Jul 2010, jaytirth wrote:

    When US forces leave Afghanistan, it will once again be plunged into a civil war and becoming a breeding ground for terrorism. Pakistan will encourage Taliban to occupy it. They have done it before, they can do it now. An International UN force comprising of several nations should be permanently stationed in Afghanistan.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    What do you think is happening now? Exactly that.

  • Comment number 17.

    What will the day-long conference achieve for Afghanistan's future? Will the meeting be a milestone? How will it be remembered? Are you in the region?

    Like other conferences before, I can argue that there is no any achievement or prosperity for Afghan in this convention because so far the Afghan government and international community have not found the main reason for issues in the country.

  • Comment number 18.

    It will achieve nothing directly, but might be the forum where the US and its minions begin to prepare justifications and excuses for the forthcoming pull-out. They know that they are defeated, like the Russians before them, but have to present the war as a victory which achieved all its aims (whatever they were). Once gone, their will be continued civil war until a sufficiently strong group of warlords takes over - that might or might not include Karzhai.

  • Comment number 19.

    Only when the Afghan people themselves have enough confidence to reject the Taliban and replace a largely feudal society with a democratic one, will peace come to the country.

    Only when the ordinary peasant farmer sees that there is more profit in growing food than poppy, will the pressure to supply the drug trade, and which is manipulated by the Taliban further to undermine western society, be reduced.

    Only when the western powers, who have for hundreds of years sought to interfere in the middle east for political and commercial gain, recognise that nothing they are doing right now is going to achieve these long terms aims, can progress towards peace begin.

    The US and UK must withdraw and a UN peace keeping force with a firm mandate, deployed. That force must consist of largely middle-eastern countries who must demonstrate their good will by providing troops.

    Only diplomats and historians who truly understand the country should be involved in planning long term social and political development.

    All aid must be properly audited by an independent international body from source to end user and the outcome published. Anyone in the Afghan government shown to have siphoned off aid money should be prosecuted and their off-shore accounts frozen.

  • Comment number 20.

    One thing I find odd is that we are providing food aid to Afghanistan. Doesn't think mean that they'll be able to use their fields for more profitable crops like opium?

  • Comment number 21.

    With the exception of a puppet government and an increase in opium availability 8 years in Afghanistan have not produced anything tangible. What makes us think that another "summit" will achieve what billions of dollars and thousands of lives could not accomplish?

  • Comment number 22.

    Presently, if the Taleban hide behind a group of ordinary people in a field or village and fire over the top at UK/USA soldiers, return fire is NOT undertaken due to causing many casualtys.

    Once Allied troops are out of Afganistan, or even just not operating with Afgans, I cannot see the Afgan army from refraining from return fire in such situations, or situations whereby someone is shooting from a building with other known non-terrorist alligned occupants in.

    The Afgan army is NOT trained up to anywhere near the operational and disciplin standards of UK/USA/Allied forces.

    Hence, when it comes down to the Afgans controlling their own security, the casualty rate of innocent civillians will no doubtedly sky-rocket.

    AS much as heart and minds and huge effort to minimise "collateral" damage to innocent people/communitys/buildings may be a moral/ethical/humane policy in the eyes and reasoning of the west, it does NOT win wars or battles and actually is yet another weapon that enemys specifically use in their deployment and actions.

    War, is an attrocious, nasty, horrible thing, the devastation and destruction to lives/buildings/communitys/livlihoods is the worst reality of human behaviour.

    It has been a reality many many times throughout history that complete devastation and crushing of an enemy, wiping out their capacity or even future ability to wage war via destroying much of their population is and has been a central historical strategy. This has meant many horrific massacres, from Alexander the Greats time and before upto more modern times as in WWII Poland/other European countrys and even since then including Saddam or the present regime in Chenya or Sri Lanka. More often than not, it takes exceptional inhumane attrocity to fully defeat an enemy. Present Western civilisations/military are incapable of taking this action, until and unless such total devastation is experienced at a level far beyond that of 9/11.

    War is attrociously ghastly in any form, the realitys of it are factually even worse.

    Even if financial management systems are of excellent order, corruption is very minimal and good governance exists, this is NOT in itself a reason why war in Afganistan will stop.

    The war in Afganistan is basically about ideas/ideology/theology and ownership/control and power, just as so many wars in the world are.

    Hence I think this conference in Kabul will achieve very little, if anything relevent at all because those who fight against it have a large central core which just is NOT bothered about these things or how good and moral and just/fair/compassionate/humane the Afgan government is, and it is extremely unlikely that the Afgan government will EVER meet/achieve such high standards so as to marginalise core extremists from lesser militant people.

    A central point/issue, is that when a gun is pointed at your family, many/most people will do extraordinary things to protect them, even take up arms against others and even attatch bombs and blow themselves up in markets or in mosques.

    Good governance and no corruption, have very little/minimal hope of combatting such conditions/situations/mentality.

    The war in Afganistan is a war of ideology/theology, corruption and bad governance though are part, just as in Vietnam or WWII they are NOT the central/core issue and it will remain as a long time a battleground for ideology/theology because it is presently a chosen place by those external elements who actually make the decisions and provide the support and networks to continue this battle in Afganistan.

    The war of ideology/theology has been raging for centurys, it WILL enevitably continue, whether in Afganistan or elsewhere.

    At the end of the day, how many countrys can the USA/UK/West afford to support, how many countrys can they afford to get involved in.

    Iraq may provide financial return via oil, Afganistan may eventually provide financial return via investigated/potential important resources if developed.

    It seems that large scale "morally justified" war is presently waged by the west, where potential long term return is possible. As it happens, modern technology has allowed for Afganistan to basically be scanned for resources, of which the potential was recently established/stated, which are very important non-oil resources.

    Hence I believe the present western political justification and publicly stated reasoning for such expense and loss of life to our nations is far far beyond ANY possible achievable humane/moral reality, when and especially it would be far far cheaper in all respects to just send up 2 dozen satelites to maintain constant observation and destroy any threats or training bases with missiles and bombs.

    The timing of this potential pull-out in 2014/2015 coincides with technological improvements to unmanned drones, basically CCTV in the sky.

    One central and MAIN element of this war, is that it has also enabled huge and expensive development of certain technologys.

    The British Defense Ministry and the Pentagon are working together to develop a solar plane that can stay airborne for months rather than days.

    It’s called the Zephyr, and it’s finishing a test flight this Friday that will have lasted 2 weeks.

    Primarily the Zephyr is intended for long term surveillance because it has no need to land – that allows it keep a continuous stream of intelligence flowing while staying safe from attack at a high altitude

    These are MUCH much cheaper than spy satelites, hence I think that in the very near future wars like Afganistan will not mainly be fought on the ground, but remotely in control centres in USA or elsewhere.

    I personally think that weapons development combined with potential resources are the 2 main reasons/factors why this war has continued for so long.

    Ultimately, if you want to end a war, close down a situation, you send in the necessary forces and equipment to do the job, in this instance ethical and humane justifications/excuses have been utilised to drag it out.

    I do not think that present/previous military/political strategy has been aimed at attaining an end. I think that when USA forces completely leave Afganistan, which I doubt will happen totally, there will first be in place a system of remotely enforcing compliability of even of the Afgan government and its newly formed/trained military, but in a manner which enables it to utilise prospective new found resources, of which USA and USA businesses will be a main/central utiliser/user/owner/partner.

    Such systems as the Zephyr can easily be specifically used to continuously fly above important production of resources to minimise attacks/disruption.

    Hence I think that such systems will either possibly enevitably inspire Hamid Karzai or whoever is in power, to increase compliance to improve Afghanistan's financial management systems, reduce corruption and promote good governance so that at least there is some economic financial improvement to civillian population to enable the extraction of resources from remote and presently dangerous areas/places as this will ultimately lead to more riches for those in power and position.


    Maybe a future deal will be done whereby certain elements will be allowed to continue to cultivate and produce heroin, as this is also very profitable.

    The thing with this world and humans, is that there are just so many variant possibilitys to everything.

    What I have written above may just be a load of tosh. It is not my absolute belief of reality, it is just those thoughts of the moment, I could vary/change them for each and every point I have made and more or less replace them with totally different prospectives, and if I were to re-write from start, thats what I'd do.

    Whatever.

    My reasoning is to question everything and make assumptions, and to do this you have to think of possible examples/situations mixed up with facts/realitys and even the unproven/unreliable or even plain fiction.

    There are so many conspiracy theories around about everything, whether what governments get upto or what a neighbour does late at night in their garden shed, one more makes little/no difference.

  • Comment number 23.

    Further to my comment 22. At 12:00pm on 20 Jul 2010

    I wonder if I am qualified to work for the Daily Mail????

  • Comment number 24.

    Probably not very much with the US dragging its heels over giving Afghanistan back to the Taliban.

  • Comment number 25.

    Conference is a good idea but USA and UK should stop policy of
    GOOD & BAD TALIBAN.
    Their is nothing like good and bad,
    Taliban is enemy of world peace.
    Its supporters should be prosecuted across
    Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 26.

    Can Afghanistan look after its own security from 2014?

    It's going to have to - because I can't and won't keep paying for it.

  • Comment number 27.

    Next Presidential elections in Afghanistan are in 2014, Mr. Karzai most probably has plans to run away with the corruption money by then. Leaving the country in ... you know what...

  • Comment number 28.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan government officials receiving aids are recognized icons of corruption in their respective countries.
    What US trying to prove through this that through corrupt people that aid can be reached to its real place.
    Obviously impossible then why are they supporting such govt and ready to give aids on different basis.
    Why US is all time ready to fool the people all the time with same tactics that can only increase hatred for her public circle.They are ruling /dealing the third world through this rich but corrupt minority whom we have to call state leaders.

  • Comment number 29.

    I live in Kabul and feel proud that after long years once again we are able to host successful event as Kabul Conference. Kabul Conference is a new attempt to put Afghanistan on track so that the country gets on its feet. After gaining the reassurance from International community, the Conference should uphold as a process and the first thing is Intra-Afghan political consensus and assurance to Afghan people that they will not be deprived of their basic rights. The Afghan political elite must resolve their differences and then conclude the action plan. We have to remember that the transition between today and 2014 is a short time and the Afghan government will not be able to achieve the goal without hard work and making tough decisions. The ball is not in Afghan court yet, but soon it will be.

  • Comment number 30.

    Four years is a very short stint. At the completion of a century you will find Taliban still in the fray with a foot-long beard or two.

  • Comment number 31.

    There are some absolutely dreadfully misinformed comments on here.

    First of all the Afghan National Government (ANG) isn't. It is the old Tajik/Uzbek grouping formerly known as the 'Northern Alliance'. They are untrustworthy, corrupt and just as evil as the opposition who are wrongly referred to as the Taliban. The opposition is mainly the Pashtun nation including various Taliban groups of differing religious severity. The ANG's influence is severely limited beyond Kabul and the North East of the country.

    If any of you think Kharzai and his gang are superior to the 'Taliban', think again. he has us over a barrel and he knows he does. Our choice is him or the Taliban.

    The reason for our interest? The security of a gas pipeline and access to huge lithium reserves. Exactly the same reason Pakistan, India and China are interested.

  • Comment number 32.

    All that the conference proves is that there is still one little piece of Kabul in which these top people can meet without being assassinated by the Taliban.

    I doubt whether this will remain so for much longer. The Afghan army is basically mercenary and as soon as it becomes clear that they might not be paid for much longer, many more will desert and be welcomed as partially trained recruits by the Taliban.

  • Comment number 33.

    The truth is that Karzai is the corruption....he and his drug lords and gang bosses....the UK and US are really there to fight the real Afghan freedom fighters, you know the ones we've labeled as Taliban.....we are there help the corruption along and get our rewards in the shape of rich minerals and fat contracts.....we (the UK and US) are the corruption. We are spporting the crimes lords to squeeze the country of it's wealth and destroy the poor people and the freedom fighters .....they are the real heroes fighting for the people of Afghanistan....not our soldiers who are no more than murdering robots for the rich boys here and in the USA.

  • Comment number 34.

    Kabul Conference will not be a landmark to Afghanistan,if president Hamid Karzai do not turn up to mobilise his army as commander in chief!

  • Comment number 35.

    Afghanistan has fine poppy fields for revenue. They could afford their own security technology. They do not need NATO. Baghdad defends Iraq against internal insurgents. The West can save lives and money by leaving the Middle East.

  • Comment number 36.

    Nothing, expect perhaps a few suicide bombings in Kabul to commemorate the event.

  • Comment number 37.

    Another summit another photo-op, some more handshakes and a few pleasantries along with a blank check. Nothing more nothing less.

  • Comment number 38.

    Anyone remember the last elections in Afghanistan? I do, and the whole thing was a complete fraud/mess.
    If anyone thinks that Karazi's government will last after the coalition forces pull out keep on dreaming, let's face it Afghanistan has always been a mess, is a mess and will always be a mess.

  • Comment number 39.

    I don't care whether it's "possible" or not, it's not our probloem, we can't afford it, it's our kids being killed and we should come home now, never mind in 2014.

    Let the Americans sort it out.

  • Comment number 40.

    Unfortunately, from my studies of Afghanistan history and currently from the Soviet withdrawal, all the Allies have done is spend hundreds of billions of dollars, kill or maim thousands of their own soldiers and countless Afghans, many of them innocent civilians.
    There are few, if any al Quaeda in Afghanistan; most of the Taliban mean no harm to the Western world, they just want Foreign powers out of their territory.
    I think President Obama knows this and is seeking the quickest way out, without seeming to "cut and run".

  • Comment number 41.

    What will the Kabul conference achieve?

    Hoste the World Cup in 2018????

  • Comment number 42.

    This is another in the long line of token gestures - enough to say "Well, we tried, didn't we?"

    Of course Afghanistan will never democratize, nor marshall a robust security service to tackle the Taliban. Anyone who believes othewise is deluding himself.

  • Comment number 43.

    More what it will NOT achieve..
    It will not achieve abolishing the law that allows a husband to beat and rape his wife with complete impunity.. Take note Missus Clinton
    It will NOT achieve Democracy on any scale..
    It will NOT achieve the ending of corruption at all levels of Government
    It will NOT achieve getting rid of the American presence, ever!
    The rest of the world that is in coalition with America will be weighed down and forever in thrall and fear to the biggest and largest Mafia ever known to mankind, AFGHANISTAN!!!!
    Good luck to us all...

  • Comment number 44.

    31. At 12:39pm on 20 Jul 2010, Red Lenin wrote:
    There are some absolutely dreadfully misinformed comments on here.

    First of all the Afghan National Government (ANG) isn't. It is the old Tajik/Uzbek grouping formerly known as the 'Northern Alliance'. They are untrustworthy, corrupt and just as evil as the opposition who are wrongly referred to as the Taliban. The opposition is mainly the Pashtun nation including various Taliban groups of differing religious severity. The ANG's influence is severely limited beyond Kabul and the North East of the country.

    If any of you think Kharzai and his gang are superior to the 'Taliban', think again. he has us over a barrel and he knows he does. Our choice is him or the Taliban.

    The reason for our interest? The security of a gas pipeline and access to huge lithium reserves. Exactly the same reason Pakistan, India and China are interested.

    ----------------------------------------

    Well worth saying.

    It is, however, a credit to the selfless nature of HYS contributors that so many think that the UK Foreign Office has the interests of the British people at heart let alone benign intentions towards ordinary Afghanis.

  • Comment number 45.

    What will the Kabul Conference achieve? Nothing more that the U.S. and Hamid Karzai have achieved in the 9 years of war that preceded this conference!

    Will the meeting be a milestone? NO, because Hamid Karzai is still considered only as "The Mayor of Kabul." And turning Kabul into such a well-fortified fortress that residents of the city cannot move around - as your BBC Kabul correspondent Ian Pannel reports, shows that the Afghans outside the city are not partners of what is going on inside between the occupying foreign power and the corrupt Karzai regime.

    The essence of the conference is rounded up in the British Foreign Secretary William Hague's statement: "We have to allow the Afghans to have ownership of themselves," on quote (BBC, July 20, 2010). This is "Deja vu" of the 16th Century conquistadors, who invaded countries in Latin America, took control, allowed local tribal leaders who submitted to their control ownership of the land, and recruited local tribesmen with pay to fight those tribes who opposed the invaders!

    Afghans have had ownership of themselves for centuries, and have the distinction of having turned their land into the "Graveyard of the [invading] Empires." They never needed, not have they accepted outside empires as landlords to their lands. One modern day empire, the U.S.S.R., tried to control Afghans, and it was chopped badly until came to its senses and retreated. Now, the second big modern empire, the U.S., is getting chopped badly, but cannot stand the global scorn and ridicule of another Vietnam Syndrome, and look for ways to get
    out without looking like a badly mauled predator.

    The Kabul Conference, therefore, is not a milestone, but a face-saving way of the invaders to plan a graceful exit - rather than leave defeated, and with their superpower egos shredded by ragtag insurgents. Nikos Retsos, retired professor

  • Comment number 46.

    What will the Kabul conference achieve?
    The Kabul Conference will achieve exactly what the Americans want it to achieve.
    Hamid Karzai is calling for Afghanistan to control its own security by 2014. Mr. Karzai, dream on!
    The Americans are still in Iraq; they have built a massive embassy in Iraq. They have hired “contractors” to control Irag. What makes you think Afghanistan will be any different?
    The US and its allies want assurances that Mr. Karzai will improve Afghanistan's financial management systems, reduce corruption and promote good governance. Yet a fair amount of American money is slipping into the hands of warlords and contractors. The corruption and lack of good governance is partly due to American games.
    Will the meeting be a milestone?
    Did you mean millstone?
    The US has used Afghanistan’s terrible history of dire poverty, repression, fear and pain as the pretext for a war that only aggravates dire poverty, repression, fear and pain.
    The media is not helpful; it is biased. E.g. NATO officer talking about the "huge optimism" of the town's residents for the operation, while downplaying the death of a 14-year-old boy as well as 8 civilians injured during the battle, also the fact that the Marines will be moving on in a couple weeks, and the Taliban will be back.
    In 2007, because of an expansion of bombing & droning campaigns on villages, deaths of Afghans topped 6,500, the largest number since the war began six years before. Deaths of US soldiers last year, at 110, were also up, while other nations contributing troops to NATO forces lost a combined 111.
    What’s all this suffering and dying for?
    The Americans cloak their true motivation for going to war with talk about saving ordinary people in Afghanistan e.g. women suffering abject oppression.But a few years before, the US had quietly backed the rise of the Taliban. The hope was that the hard-line regime would impose order AND FACILITIATE THE OIL CORPORATION UNOCAL'S PLAN TO BUILD A PIPELINE THROUGH AFGHANISTAN.
    No doubt, some Afghans hoped the US invasion would get rid of the Taliban. But those hopes turned to bitter resentment as the brutality of the American occupation, the savagery of the warlords that Washington supported took hold.
    As for the Afghan women, try this on for size:
    The women of Afghanistan, only became a cause in the West following September 11, 2001, when the Taliban suddenly became the official enemy of America. Yes, women suffered under the Taleban, but they were not unique, and I truly resent the silence in the West over the atrocious nature of the Western-backed warlords, who are worse than the Taliban. They rape and kidnap and terrorize, yet they hold seats in the US-backed Karzai's government.
    The problem is not a lack of finance or military, but the goal of the war itself. The US never sought to "liberate" Afghanistan, but to take it, own it, dominate it and turn it into an American-friendly ally in Central Asia.
    Tariq Ali is a British Pakistani historian, writer, filmmaker, political campaigner, and commentator. He maintains that what the US really wants is "to construct an army able to suppress its own population but incapable of defending the nation from outside powers…with no control over planning or social infrastructure, which will remain in the hands of Western NGOs; A GOVERNMENT WHOSE FOREIGN POLICY MARCHES IN STEP WITH WASHINGTON'S."
    In accordance with American imperialism, Afghanistan, like Iraq, is a strategic location that can and will be used to spread US’ influence throughout Central Asia.
    Like PM Cameron, the world must smarten up and get “hard headed and realistic” about American objectives…because folks, all countries, all people are expendable IF you do not bow to American imperialism.

  • Comment number 47.

    He is supposed to be the president of that country. If Karzai can't deliver security in his own country, as nice of a guy as he may be, what good is he politically? And why do other nations take him seriously??? (no, the answer isn't "b/c he's the only president they have")
    Since when do serious presidents of countries fail in the most basic of presidential duties: security in their own country? OK, Dubya Bush failed in this area on 911, but he wasn't really a legitimately elected president when it happened. Maybe that is linked to why why it happened. But that has nothing to do with Afgh.

  • Comment number 48.

    Adghanistan is a corrupt kleptocracy, locked in misery by its own culture, and with a veneer of democracy.

    Pretty much the norm for that part of the world, then.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Was it "Ka-BULL"? I do not think it achieved anything, Karzai's statement to take over the security in 2014 is just as good as Obama's promise that the economy in America will be in good steam next year. Politicians make statements that they do not think is possible, honesty does not get votes, promise to do something is the only tool to get elected. This meeting is just one more piece of news that people will forget very soon.

  • Comment number 51.

    9. At 10:23am on 20 Jul 2010, jaytirth wrote:
    "When US forces leave Afghanistan, it will once again be plunged into a civil war and becoming a breeding ground for terrorism..."

    Yeah, backing by those little arrangements and mediation's of special agencies, who make sure that the brainwash on the West is sufficient as well.
    Btw. Afghans can't amd don't get out of that country, unless you force them to do so. Than by foot...

  • Comment number 52.

    "
    22. At 12:00pm on 20 Jul 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    "

    Congratulations on posting the hys comment - ever ;-)

  • Comment number 53.

    In one word - "nothing".

  • Comment number 54.

    Karzai wants to control his forces?

    How much control and respect would he really have if "power" was handed over to him? I think it'd instantly vapourise.
    Afghan soldiers turn renegade far too easily.

    Spending to go through him?
    He'll set up a government organisation to control the aid, and such an organisation will eat the majority of said aid. The same is already true for charities, and I think it would be no different.

  • Comment number 55.

    46. At 2:15pm on 20 Jul 2010, BluesBerry wrote:
    What will the Kabul conference achieve?
    The Kabul Conference will achieve exactly what the Americans want it to achieve.
    Hamid Karzai is calling for Afghanistan to control its own security by 2014. Mr. Karzai, dream on!
    The Americans are still in Iraq; they have built a massive embassy in Iraq. They have hired “contractors” to control Irag. What makes you think Afghanistan will be any different?

    -----

    Current thinking is that, unlike Iraq, Afghanisatan cannot be centrally governed.

    Kabul, for example, for governmental and administrative purposes, might as well be in a different country than Kandahar, where the karzai government wields no power whatsoever.

    What many experts are predicting is the break up of afghanistan into several regions, all of which will be protected by different political and military factions.

    The US may well prop up Karzai's government in Kabul long after their military has lest the country, but that will be pretty much all Karzai controls - Kabul itself.

    So long story short - the US exerting the same control they have over Iraq and by inference their resources - nil.

  • Comment number 56.

    This is a day dream and I do not think that this will happen by 2014.

  • Comment number 57.

    From what you hear in the news, and coments from returning forces that are family or friend related, the Afgan government is corrupt, they Afgan country is corrupt, when we pull out and the sooner the better, it will be no different than when we went. Only we and the USA have lost many many bright young boys and girls for nothing. They should pull them all out now and let them fight it out between them. They dont want us there, so why stay where we are not wanted.
    p.s. dont give them British passports either to come and rally their warmongering troops over here.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    As long as there is natural gas and oil, this conference means nothing, the US will remain there till the resources have gone even if it costs every single Afghani life, just like the control measures and disappearances still going on in Iraq, problem is nobody can see what the Yanks are doing there, the real truth may never come out, but experiments on civilians is not out of teh question, they and Israel are conducting ethnic cleansing!

  • Comment number 60.

    27. At 12:27pm on 20 Jul 2010, Syed Sajjad Ali wrote:
    Next Presidential elections in Afghanistan are in 2014, Mr. Karzai most probably has plans to run away with the corruption money by then. Leaving the country in ... you know what...

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Hes probably already got his house paid for in Floridas Key West where their seems to be a lot of hiding torturers and war criminals! most have medals for bravery for mutilating a child or something, they really take pride in that kind of cowardly acts!

  • Comment number 61.

    This is just an escape route for the invaders..Pathetic.

  • Comment number 62.

    The Taliban as we like to call them, or we can call them the Mujhahideen which they are, are defendign their country, jsut like they did against the Russians with teh US's help, and now they are the enemy because a US agent called Osama Bin Laden is using their country as a base! Hmm seems a a bit suspect, but we all know why!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    The country is not under control as it is. How can the Afghan army alone hope to control it?
    We can train them, but we can't instil loyalty to the government, we can't stop them from defecting to the Taliban and we can't eliminate rivalries and corruption among senior officers.
    We are wasting lives and money trying to stabilise Afghanistan. Even if we could do it, it will just revert to chaos after we leave. Let's stop wasting more lives and bring the lads home now. Over 300 may have died in vain, let's not make it 1000, or 5000, because it will make no difference to the outcome.

  • Comment number 64.

    Like the Iraq war afghanistan restrusturing exercise here is also the legacy of GWB as a colition of the willing 'donors'.This is an annual ritual where willing and not so willing meet and satisfy their respective administrations back home that their commitment funds is being/will be put to proper use in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 65.

    Karzai continues to promote the concept of convincing the Taliban to cooperate with the government, which of course, is pure fantasy. The Taliban are the most extreme Islamic group on the planet, and they will not accept any part of a modern Afghanistan.

    Karzai either has to change his tune, or he is doomed to fail.

  • Comment number 66.

    Th Karzai government is corrupt and is in power because the 'alliance' keep him there. The last election was a fraud and Karzai's supporters rigged the result. His government has no legitimacy.
    Within months of the withdrawal of alliance forces, the Taliban will be outside the gates of Kabul.
    The history of Afghanistan is that the central government's writ does not run far from Kabul and the hill tribes do what they want.
    Most of the so-called Taliban are Afghan tribesman who are fighting to get the foreigners out ,as they've done for centuries.
    We have wasted blood and treasure in Afghanistan when the source of the problem is Salafist Wahhabism funded by Saudi money and Pakistan's ISI complicity with Al Q'Aida.
    It was Saudis and Pakistanis who hijacked the planes on 9/11 2001, not Taliban. Bin Laden fought with the Taliban to end the Russian occupation in the '90s, his dream of a Salafist Islamic future is not theirs.
    The 'War on Terror' has been led in the wrong direction.

  • Comment number 67.

    Why do we care whether Karzai, the Taliban, or anyone else controls Afghanistan? We have our own problems to sort out, so leave them to it.
    We might not approve of how they do things, but we can say the same about many other states, and we are not a world police force.

    The argument that we are preventing terror attacks on the UK is just wishful thinking. If we want to do that properly we should deploy our security resources in gathering good intelligence, improve surveillance at our ports and airports, and increase patrols of our coastline and territorial waters. And on the civilian side, politicians and judges need to get a grip on reality and deport all those whose words or actions threaten our security. We once had a very serious offence of treason - and for good reason. Why have we gone all soft and vulnerable?

  • Comment number 68.

    46. At 2:15pm on 20 Jul 2010, BluesBerry wrote:
    "...The Americans...built a massive embassy in Iraq. They have hired “contractors” to control Irag. What makes you think Afghanistan will be any different?..."

    It depends on further loans from China...
    Imperialism (which is the last stage of capitalism / K.M.) is an expensive and dirty business.

  • Comment number 69.

    I worked in afghanistan 4 years, in the government, dealing with soldiers, foreign aid.......

    I Know Karzai, his capacity, his loyalty, his influence, his cabinet.................

    The people of Britain should realize now or later, but better now that the sooner soldier come back the better for economy and families.

    with karzai nothing is going to be achieved, he is simply not capable.

  • Comment number 70.

    Afghanistan now is about an exit strategy for the NATO troops and Karzai provides a way of doing this without a loss of military face (in the fact our military have been unable to pacify the region) since we can claim it was always about getting Afghans to defend themselves (which remember wasn't a stated aim when we went in). Yet again modern Western armies with the best equipment have been unable to overcome a badly-equipped almost peasant army.

    That so much in terms of lives and money have been invested for such small tangeable gains (and these may well turn out to be temporary) is an absolute disgrace and should require criminal prosecutions against our leaders. They are too busy making money on the after dinner circuits though, telling everyone who will pay the £1,000+ entrance fees that they were "right" to do what they did.

  • Comment number 71.

    The conference will achieve nothing. Our withdrawal (which is the right thing to do) will allow a barbaric medieval nation to get back to its favourite hobby of tribal conflict. Iran should be very scared - the arms industry needs constant war and they're next. Or maybe Syria - they'll be a softer touch but Iran will probably join in anyway, so the arms industry and the right-wingers of the US and UK will love it.

  • Comment number 72.

    Who really believes that Afghanistan will become a sustainable, democratic country. More likely the medieaval society and superstitions will prevail, and drug barons will rule the roost. After all, a country has to base its economy on something. If the new middle classes want everything we have, they will naturally be drawn to whatever has the greatest value. Our 'industrial' revolution was based on coal, Asia's was based on cheap mass production of consumer and white goods, theirs will be based on narcotics.

  • Comment number 73.

    Does it seem plausible that the Americans are so big hearted that they have expended billions on a war both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have had their soldiers killed just to hand back these countries to what are essentially untrustworthy governments and then say good by and good luck you can run things for yourselves? Anyone who believes this children's tale doesn't understand the nature of US interventionism in the 21st century as conceived by US intelligence. Iraq will always now have US military bases as will Afghanistan hardly an example of national sovereignty in either case but then Secretary Hillary Clinton has used the political sophistry that the US still has military bases in Germany 65 years after WWII as a would-be justification. Is Germany under US occupation? Clinton's comment would seem to suggest that. The US is even trying to literally buy Paksitan's favor with an aid package that originally had so many restrictions attached to it that Pakistan could not accept it but it seems the $500,000 money deal has been sweetened enough that it is now palatable to the Pakistanis. US interest in the region is directly proportional to Paksitan's nuclear weapons, Afghanistan is a sideshow and convenient excuse to meddle up close. Notice that the US response to North Korea's deliberate sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, an open act of war, did not result in a proprotionate military response. The reasons are obvious. But in the case of Iran that does not possess nuclear arms all sorts of threats are being issued by the US. What does this imply? That the US will go to any lenght for the interests and security of Israel its sole concern were Islamic held nucelar weapons real or imagined are concerned. North Korea is an isolated case that does not threathen Israel if it did US reaction would be different. All other explanations that any of this somehow threathens the US mainland per se is propaganda for mass consumption. US forces are surrogates for where the Israelis themselves cannot reach or have not the economic and logistic means of doing so. The ultimate goal is systematic regime change in all Islamic countries favorable to Israel.

  • Comment number 74.

    What will happen? The same thing that ALWAYS happens.

    The US will send billion of dollars and thousands of troops, and the Afghans will do their best to steal every dollar and kill every soldier. The process then repeats.

    This process has been repeating for decades.
    There is never any other result.
    Why should we expect anything different now?

  • Comment number 75.

    President Karzai has the gift of the gab. Whether he will be able to deliver is another question! Afghanistan will need to be helped and supported. Once the Americans leave, hell will be let loose and the Taliban will dig deep and it would be impossible to dislodge them. The Taliban need to be decimated NOW!

  • Comment number 76.

    Not very much, I believe is the correct answer. Afghanistan is a feudal and endemically corrupt country, ruled by local and regional warlords. The Taliban are embedded into this system, just waiting to re-appear in force the moment NATO forces leave. In the meantime, they are doing sufficient to undermine the will of those NATO populations that are providing combat forces, by inflicting casualties. All previous Afghan wars have gone down a similar path and all have ended in withdrawal from a country that is virtually ungovernable.This war will be no different, but in the meantime, our loyal and brave servicemen will continue to bleed until the political classes make up their minds.

  • Comment number 77.

    Troops could leave Afghanistan in 2050, or 2060, it makes no differnce. The country will drop into a downward spiral the moment the troops' aircraft leave the runway!

    The country is a complete write-off - always has been & always will be!

    So if the troops left tomorrow morning, at least the mess could start & maybe be over with in ohhhhhhhhh 25 years?

    Best just to leave 'em to it; oh and no more asylum for hi-jackers!

  • Comment number 78.

    77. At 4:27pm on 20 Jul 2010, W Fletcher wrote:
    "Troops could leave Afghanistan in 2050, or 2060, it makes no differnce. The country will drop into a downward spiral the moment the troops' aircraft leave the runway!..."

    Are you sure your troops are so indispensable?
    I wonder how Afghanistan could managed for few millenia without them?
    Better worry about our own countries...

  • Comment number 79.

    Unlike Iraq, the U.S. is fighting a circular war in Afghanistan. Using terms such as "Mission Accomplished" or "We will not leave until Al Qaeda / the Taliban have been neutralized", etc., is just rhetoric fodder for the media. Mission statements, by the U.S., change just as the wind does.
    True peace and stability in Afghanistan, also in the Israeli / Palestinian conflict, are ideals that are almost impossible to reach. The growth of poppies for narcotics, widespread corruption, disbanding the warlords and other such obstacles will take a lot of time and a huge effort by the U.S. led forces to overcome.

  • Comment number 80.

    The time line of 2014 for the handover of security responsibilities to the Afghan Security Forces is feasible only if the international community expedite the training process and increase the funding. Teaching Afghan Army officers in Kabul training centers will not be enough; the forces need more equipment. The Air Force remains absolutely dysfunctional, with almost no support form the NATO or the United States. Even during the Soviet-backed regime, the Afghan Army was better equipped, which made them a potent force against the Mujahideen. Also, the handover must start in more peaceful areas in the north and provinces around Kabul. But this also requires improvement in governance. If corruption remains endemic, all efforts will prove futile. And if warlords remain as provincial governors, it's difficult to develop the army as a national army. In northern Balkh province, for example, the security forces take order more from the influential provincial governor Gen. Atta Mohammad Noor than from the Defense Ministry in Kabul. Moreover, improving security in Afghanistan is intertwined with better governance, economic development, the rule of law and justice. There's a lack of a strategy encompassing them all. And if any of these is ignored or remains ineffective, the entire mission could fail.

  • Comment number 81.

    Waste of blood and money. The soldiers who die in Afghanistan are being sacrificed by our leaders who seek power and influence for their own gains. The parents who have lost their children have watched their sons and daughters die for nothing. Tough to hear,but true. They are dead and will never see a sunrise or witness the birth of their children.
    It is about securing military bases and gaining strategic ground. Bad enough if they had won. But they are not even going to get that much. The whole adventure will gain nothing but huge debt for all of us.

  • Comment number 82.

    Afghanistan has been a total waste of resources, let us all just pull out tomorrow without further ado.

  • Comment number 83.

    When one undergoes a treatment he or she needs to bear the pain either for taking powerful medicines or for undergoing of an operation. Thinking about the bearing of the pain prior to undertaking the treatment which might even be fatal, we cannot run away from our responsibilities to remain ailing forever. Terrorism had in-fact started prior to the invasion of Afghanistan by the Russians. That was the beginning of Terrorism, without an end of it foreseen by us, duly overtaking the entire Globe within its firm grip. However, the presence of the allied force cannot be a permanent solution to it but the force needs to leave the area somewhere and sometime in between; keeping other assistances continuing in one way or the other. The offer of help extended by the entire is some sort of temporary substitute only but if the aid so extended vanishes before putting into use, it shall work more against us than doing any good to the General Public of Afghanistan.

    But taking of such risk is the only solution available to us at the moment with no other option foreseen now which might work on behalf of us one day through their acquiring of knowledge about our actual identities while living ourselves as human beings in this very small Globe. Accordingly we hope that the Great Public of Afghanistan shall understand the gravity of the situation to put their entire strength, desire as well as its objective firmly enough to keep the Country free from terrorism, no matter how much sacrifice the Country has to offer to kill the cause from expanding everywhere. It is more the duty of the people of Afghanistan than anyone else who can infuse the exact order that can sustain for a much longer period of time if not forever. If the Country tries to recollect the character of the Nation that is inherited by it, the task is well within the reach of us.


    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA, PhD)

  • Comment number 84.

    Someone will make some money out of it and then thew will go on killing our troops.

    If we want to win the war and get out, there is only one solution. Destroy all life in the areas controlled by the Taliban.

  • Comment number 85.

    The war to save the Obama presidency continues unabated.
    Our troops must fight and die but never interogate the enemy to find out where they get their weapons, who are their leaders, or where the next roadside bomb is hidden.
    The current ROE's Rules of Engagment direct our troops may only fire on enemy soldiers physically holding weapons.
    Obama's prior announcment against all advice of a July 2011 exit date assures our failure.
    8 guys die in a single day and it does make a newspaper article and no one asks Obama about the war and he never talks about it or answers questions.
    If Obama does not have the courage to deal with Iran how can we win in Afghanistan, to pretend they're not connected is foolishness.
    Get out now before Obama gets more of our kids killed.

  • Comment number 86.

    In Art of War by Sun Tzu It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.
    Is there any evidence that President Karzai knows the enemy? Have the Afghan forces successfully maintained law order in any province?
    What is his credibility? Is he accepted by majority of the people as an independent Afghan, rather than as a US puppet?
    If the Afghan leaders do not know the enemy or their acceptability to the majority of people of Afghanistan, then this is a futile exercise.

  • Comment number 87.

    Officer; Ok Soldier we want you to go on patrol and walk down this road but be careful we just caught a man who was carrying bomb fuse and nitrate tests show he was recently handling high explosives.
    Soldier: Well if he was handling high Explosives ask him where he hid the bomb.
    Officer; Well we asked him but he says he does not want to tell us.
    Soldier; So you want me and my guys to walk down that road where you know he has a bomb hidden.
    Officer; Yes soldier that is your mission.
    Soldier; Why do I have to do that, demand to know where the bomb is first.
    Officer; No Soldier we can not do that Obama has ordered no harsh interogations.
    Soldier: Then let Obama go walking down that road.

  • Comment number 88.

    President Karzi promises what we all want to hear.
    His promises could have been written for him by those who need to get out.
    The President is no ones fool as can be seen by all...his head is still on his shoulders!
    Should he be left with his own army to defend him anything could happen...and he knows only too well that he will always need our troops there otherwise there could be a day of reckoning looming for him.
    He knows the history of Afghanistan far better than we do...and it's littered with internecine warfare and deadly feuds and I think that what he say's and what he believes are two very different things.

  • Comment number 89.

    Up to now Mr.Karzai did not achieve much,could not stop corupption,besides some other things.

    This Day long Confernce called a Historical-Confernce will
    go in to History.

    And this is probly all it will achieve.

  • Comment number 90.

    85. At 5:49pm on 20 Jul 2010, ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote:
    "...Get out now before Obama gets more of our kids killed."

    It is not because of Obama.
    Those behind the curtains are the same for decades, just getting more and more daring as the public is scared more and more.
    This is not a one man show.
    Sorry for those kids.


  • Comment number 91.

    corruption and back stabbing is all that can be expected from people in this region, they live by a tribal lifestyle, and believe in barberous things.
    They are not and will never be our friends,they cannot ever be trusted, but in the mean time they will milkus for all they can get.

  • Comment number 92.

    From the very start the primary objective should have been to locate and dismantle al qaeda training camps and hunt their leaders.
    The Taliban should have been nothing more than a secondary side issue to be engaged only in so far as it was necessary to achieve the primary objective. I do not believe it was ever the job of NATO to nation build an Afghan democracy. Assuming most Afghans did not want a return of the Taliban - then they should have taken most of the responsibility for that themselves.
    If the Taliban can form a significant fighting force without outside help and training so should other Afghans who oppose them.
    The job of the NATO forces always should have been, and continue to be, to disrupt al caeda's terrorist organisation.
    At some point NATO will leave and the Afghans will have to fight their own battle against extremists like the Taliban - sink or swim it was their job to do from the start, and the sooner this is made clear to Karzai the better.

  • Comment number 93.

    What will the Kabul conference achieve?
    A nice pot load of Money for corrupt Politicians.
    I would hate to be a Father of a Murdered British soldier.
    We are even told it is now time to talk to the Taliban.
    "The British Government never negotiates with Terrorists"
    I Guess from next Week the Taliban will be reclassified as Freedom Fighters.

  • Comment number 94.

    pull back our ground troops, and start patroling hostile areas of the country with remotely operated spay planes backed up with high flying Lockheed AC-130H/U side-firing aerial gunships that can provide close air support to any afghan ground forces, once the ARV has verified the targets, as these converted cargo planes can fly high and slow enough to safely anihilate target areas destoying whatever they target from their aerial vantage point, minimising any more casualties from our forces.

  • Comment number 95.

    Afghanistan didn't have a problem with its security until foreign occupation forces arrived there. And the logic of that is that it will only regain its security when, and only when, those foreign occupation forces leave.

  • Comment number 96.

    Another billion quid off "Mr Melchip" William Haigh from the British Tax payer. The beers are on Tony Blair!

  • Comment number 97.

    Who will all this grand conferencing kid ?. The only theme here it seems is that Nato is desperate to find a way out of the quagmire it got itself into in Afghanistan. The place is utterly unconquerable !

  • Comment number 98.

    Without attempting to answer the question I would like first to query how this poor, wrecked country can afford to play host to a conference featuring (I think) 40 foreign ministers. I dread to think of the security costs. How many Afghanis could have been helped if this money had been invested in a water supply, schools etc?!

  • Comment number 99.

    Presumably it will make the rich elite in Afghanistan even richer..

  • Comment number 100.

    Mission Accomplished we have installed a pro western dictator in Afghanistan that will hang on to power by rigging elections .

    What will the conference achieve, empty tea cups and half eaten sandwiches, job done.

 

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