Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Afghanistan: Taliban will win unless EU international aid is improved

25th October 2007

Strasbourg, 25th October -- Speaking in a European Parliament debate on opium production in Afghanistan, Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman, condemned the failure to coordinate and efficiently distribute EU aid, warning that continued ignorance of the problem could lead to a Taliban victory.

Dr Tannock said:

"We need a far more coordinated approach by the EU to developing Afghan infrastructure and fighting corruption otherwise the Taliban will win.

"The west must wake up to realities of Afghanistan: International bodies are not co-coordinating their activities. The rampant corruption of the Afghan Government means the Provinces are losing patience with President Karsai's government in Kabul.

"The current centralised model of Government does not suit the diversity of interests and ethnicities across the country, which has never had a tradition of strong central government in the past. The provinces are currently given no operational funding to pursue objectives separate from Kabul.

No long term economic plan is being following to harness the plentiful water supply (92% of which ludicrously runs out the country). Construction of dams and irrigation systems would allow industrial scale growth of fruit and vegetables. Building a much needed railway would help to ship such goods onto the international market.

"If the country is to be rescued from disaster much urgently needs to be done."