Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20
THURSDAY 24 OCTOBER 2002
(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.