I wrote a piece for The Atlantic about why Pakistan’s boycott has turned an already iffy conference at Bonn into a complete farce:
But the Bonn II conference has met with significant hurdles. Besides Pakistan, Afghanistan’s largest neighbor, no one seems to know if Afghanistan’s other major neighbor, Iran, will participate (I spoke with officials in the State Department, who would neither confirm nor deny Iran’s attendance). U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker has told the Taliban they are not welcome to participate either, though German representatives have expressed interest in hosting some Taliban representatives. And Uzbekistan, which the U.S. is counting on as a transit corridor for its withdrawal plans, has been coy about its participation in any international conferences.
So a conference about the future of Afghanistan that is meant to leave a lasting, workable regional framework in place to manage the many diplomatic, economic, and security consequences of an American withdrawal might not include four of the most important participants: Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, or the Taliban. And yet, the other 90 countries that participate hope to accomplish something.
Not exactly earth-shattering, but it needs to be said.