Leaders Renew Vows Of Support For Afghanistan

American, European and other foreign leaders met here Tuesday to pledge anew their support for Afghanistan as they committed to complete transition of security and budgeting responsibility to the Afghan government by 2014. They acknowledged that neither the people of their own countries nor those in Afghanistan had much patience left. President Hamid Karzai promised to make concrete efforts to reduce corruption and find a way to end the fighting in his country — areas in which he has pledged improvement in the past. He painted a picture of a country that could flourish, lifting its “people from poverty to prosperity and from insecurity to stability.” “Our vision is to be the peaceful meeting place of civilizations,” he said in an address. “Our location in the center of the new Silk Road makes us a convergence point of regional and global economic interests. ”Whether Afghanistan can get there without an enormous infusion of further foreign aid and the presence of a significant number of foreign troops seems doubtful — at least for the next few years. That point was underscored by the vague language around the timeline for handing over security responsibility.