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Bearing the Broader Burden:
The Camp David G8’s Support for Afghanistan’s Economic Transition

John Kirton, G8 Research Group
May 20, 2012

In its approach the Afghanistan’s Economic Transition, the Camp David G8 leaders again showed the unique value of the G8 summit as a forum that comprehensive covers, and coherent and synergistically integrates, issues, initiatives and values across the economic, development and security domains. On Afghanistan Camp David’s leaders promised their continuing support for “the transition process with close coordination of of our security, political and economic strategies.”

The military mission, force and money for them were left for the NATO Summit in Chicago the next day to define and mobilize. The Camp David G8 had ownership of the civilian economic and political dimensions, which would be equally expensive and complex. The Camp David leaders privately began to mobilize the money needed to “support the development of a sustainable Afghan economy,” once its war economy ended when the foreign forces left. It thus generated the critical mass and momentum to fuel the success of the Tokyo conference in July, when “G8 members ad other donors” would generate “further long-term support for civilian assistance,” and agree to a strategy for its use.

It importantly added a focus, commitment and mechanism on mutual accountability, to ensure the promised money was delivered, used as intended and accomplished the intended result. The money thus came with “mutual commitments and benchmarks between Afghanistan and the international community” and a “mechanism for biennial reviews of progress being made against those benchmarks through the transformation decade.”

Most impressively, the G8’s approach to the new non-militarized Afghanistan was focused on and guided by the G8’s core mission and foundational values of promoting open democracy and individual liberty around the world. Whereas the NATO summit in Chicago would reduce the goal of the military mission from full-scale nation building to merely preventing al Qaeda’s return, the G8 summit at Camp David for the new civilian Afghanistan was to create a country that met “its obligation to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in the rights of women and girls and the freedom to practice religion.”

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