Analysts Debate Whether Karzai Ready For Post-Kabul Conference Mandate

Representatives from more than 60 countries and international organizations have left Kabul after endorsing President Hamid Karzai's strategy to gradually take more responsibility in guiding his country. Analysts say Afghan President Hamid Karzai has a strong mandate to take charge of efforts to guide Afghanistan out of years of war. Delegates from around the world backed President Karzai's call Tuesday for the international community to channel at least 50 percent of development aid through the Afghan government. Donors have spent more than $40 billion on Afghanistan since 2001. Afghan Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhailwal says the government is ready for the responsibility. He says the Afghan government knows the people's priorities, as well as the best way to balance development across the country. He says the government should control the foreign aid because it is its right to provide services and development for Afghans. But the director for Afghanistan's Center of Research and Policy Studies Haroun Mir says he thinks the government is overestimating its capacity. He says most of the country's ministries already have failed to properly manage the $2-billion Afghan Development Budget. "I do not know overnight how they could increase their capacity to observe even larger amounts of money," said Haroun Mir. "I think money is not the problem, but the problem is capacity within the Afghan government and most importantly corruption. "But Mir says Mr. Karzai has an opportunity to show Afghans and the rest of the world that corruption will no longer be business as usual. For instance, the office of Afghanistan's attorney general recently announced that 15 ministers have ties to corruption, and Mr. Karzai's Cabinet supported his plan to create a new court for these prosecutions. "We all wait to see a political will from President Karzai to truly publicize the names of those ministers who are accused of corruption and publicly indict them," said Mir. "And that wou