Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 24/ Trend /
Without the development of businesses in Afghanistan besides its illicit but lucrative opium trade, the economic impact of the NATO pullout could destabilize Afghanistan and its neighbors by unleashing a flood of unemployed Afghan refugees, armed extremists and crime, Kyrgyzstan's interim president Rosa Otunbayeva said in an interview at The New York Times, published on Thursday.
"I think the region is in dismay over what will happen, how to cope with all these problems," she said in an interview at The New York Times. If the NATO strategy to defeat the Taliban consisted of "only military operations, and withdrawal in 2014, of course it will be worse," the president said.
Ms. Otunbayeva said that Kyrgyzstan had been helping to train Afghan civilians in customs protocols and microfinance - efforts that have been appreciated by the United States - and that other countries should be doing "everything possible to integrate Afghans into a normal life."
Her concern echoed a World Bank report, released on Tuesday, that warned that Afghanistan could suffer a devastating recession in 2014 and beyond because of the impending vacuum created by the military withdrawal and dwindling aid. More than 90 percent of Afghanistan's annual budget comes from foreign donors.
Edited by V. Zhavoronkova