Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20 - 21)



  20. Infrastructure.
  (Dr Abdullah) Yes.
  (Mr Atmar) It is more a technical matter than a political one. The point is that the government will have to live up to the expectations. We have already delivered. Look at the Bonn agreement. There is nothing in that agreement which we have not delivered. We have every reason to believe and be hopeful that we will deliver on the rest with the right sort of assistance.

  21. We understand that many girl babies, children, women are not registered, so clearly if you are going to have an election which involves universal suffrage that would create a problem. Do you have plans to ensure that all the population is registered, so that they will all be able to vote?
  (Dr Abdullah) This is one of the programmes which we have to carry out before elections, for men and women. The issue of identity in Afghanistan, population census, the demographic aspect of it, all these things have to be addressed before we have an election.
  (Mr Atmar) Registration is not just a problem for women, it is a problem for every Afghan because of the lack of institutional capacity to do that. Certainly we are quite confident that this will have to be a prerequisite for the election.

   Chairman: Ministers, thank you very much for your time. We have trespassed slightly longer than we had intended, but we are very grateful to you for coming to the Committee and sharing with us some of the difficulties and the frustrations which you are experiencing. About a year ago our Prime Minister said to the Afghan people, "We make this commitment: we will not walk away". I think so far as this Committee are concerned, we are determined to do whatever we can to ensure that the international community as a whole does not walk away from Afghanistan and hopefully when, in due course, our report is published, it might help that whole process of support for what you are trying to do. Thank you very, very much and we hope you have a very successful conference at Wilton Park and a safe journey home to Afghanistan.

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