MEPs questioned the lack of results from the EU's strategy for Afghanistan in a debate with Catherine Ashton, the high representative for foreign affairs, on Tuesday 12 June. NATO troops are due to leave Afghanistan in 2014, but MEPs wonder if the country is ready to take over. They pointed to problems with corruption, poverty and the Taliban. Ms Ashton called Afghanistan a "long-term commitment" and said there had already been significant improvements.
Eija-Riitta Korhola, a Finnish centre-right member of the EPP group, said: "Only 20% of the EU aid actually reaches the people who need aid. International aid must be reformed. We have to get rid of the cultivation of drugs and give better training to the police and the army. The situation is still desperate and it is only getting worse."
Dutch Social-Democrat Thijs Berman, chair of the delegation for relations with Afghanistan, said: "When NATO troops leave Afghanistan in 2014, will the country be able to take control of its future peacefully? It doesn't currently seem so."
Romanian Liberal-Democrat Norica Nicolai said: "I'm not happy with Afghanistan's future. We can all report some achievements, but are these achievements enough to consider Afghanistan a stable and democratic country."
Ms Ashton told MEPs: "There is no doubt that this is a commitment that is difficult at times and requires us to continue to push hard on ensuring that what we believe should be done by the Afghan government is indeed done and that we ensure that our resources are well spent."
The high representative added there are good news stories as well. "We have seen health care improve, infant mortality going down and many, many, many girls in school finally getting the education they deserve. These are important."