The January 2010 London Conference refocused the world’s attention on Afghanistan, with donors renewing commitments and presenting new strategies to combat the Taliban, improve governance and limit corruption. However, progress, as always, will remain contingent on Afghan leadership and ownership. This paper proposes seven policy initiatives designed to refocus Afghanistan’s domestic reform agenda, overcome post-electoral distrust, and lay the groundwork for a re-galvanized partnership or compact between the Afghan government and international community.  By making these bold moves the Afghan government and international community can still overcome the current crisis in Afghanistan, stabilize the country and end the agony of the long-suffering Afghan people.

Christopher Alexander was Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Afghanistan from December 2005 until May 2009. In this position he was responsible for political affairs, including elections, disarmament, governance, regional cooperation, rule of law and police reform, as well as cooperation with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  Prior to this assignment he served as Ambassador of Canada to Afghanistan from August 2003 until October 2005 and he was second secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow from 2000 to 2003.

The Afghanistan Papers are essays authored by prominent academics, policy makers, practitioners and informed observers that seek to challenge existing ideas, contribute to ongoing debates and influence international policy on issues related to Afghanistan’s transition. A forward-looking series, the papers combine analysis of current problems and challenges with explorations of future issues and threats.