$4.5 billion question

$4.5 billion question We are not starting from scratch. Our institutions have been substantially weakened. But they still exist,' says Hedayat Amin-Arsala, minister of finance of Afghanistan Interim Authority. Hidayat's statement has more meaning now when the interim government is struggling hard to convene the Loya Jirga and to chart out his country's reconstruction through a new constitution. And as of now, the process is dictated by the us consortium dangling the carrot worth us $4.5 billion. Afghanistan now faces the proverbial million-dollar question: which way to go from here. As the past suggests any move to impose a us-backed central government may backfire, while on the other hand, the enormous money pledged will not come as it is conditioned to this. The Loya Jirga is going to decide this, and the future.

Hedayat's statement is a reminder to what the future is in store. For the desperate people of Afghanistan, it is another round of

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