While the unremitting violence in Iraq grabs the world’s headlines, Afghanistan still struggles for peace. The country’s parliament is packed with warlords, the drug trade is thriving, and violence is on the rise.
This week, world leaders have an opportunity to steer developments onto a new and more hopeful path when they meet in London to forge a new compact with Afghanistan. The compact builds on the 2001 Bonn Agreement, which laid the framework for a democratic Afghanistan but left much to be done to overcome that war-torn country’s tragic legacy.
The need for renewed attention to Afghanistan could hardly be greater. Decades of neglect coupled with foreign intervention left the country in ruins, with reverberations across the world. It is now in everyone’s interest to help Afghanistan rebuild.
The drug trade exemplifies the far-reaching impact of domestic instability. Last year, the value of drugs produced in Afghanistan – the world’s largest supplier of opiates – is estimated to have reached up to 25% of GDP.