Donors pledge $16 billion aid for Afghanistan
09 July, 2012
TOKYO: Donor countries on Sunday have pledged to continue Afghan aid and promised to give $16 billion civilian assistance to Afghanistan till 2015.
Some 70 countries are gathered in Tokyo conference on how to support Afghanistan after foreign forces leave in 2014.
In his opening remarks, Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for $4 billion a year in civilian aid in order to safeguard political and economic gains made since the fall of the Taliban.
The White House will ask Congress to sustain US assistance for Afghanistan near the average amount it has been over the last decade through 2017 as part of the international effort to stabilize the country.
Shortly after his foreign minister declared the meeting open, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told delegates: "It is an honour for Japan, as a nation that loves peace and hopes for the stability and prosperity of the international community, to co-host the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan." Karzai acknowledged security remained a major problem, but said his country had come a long way.
"In these past 10 years, with help from the international community, we have made remarkable progress toward healing of the scars of conflicts and destruction," AFP quoted him as saying.
"And we are laying down a new path for people to realise their aspiration of a peaceful and prosperous and democratic country."
We have to make the security gains and the transition irreversible," Clinton told officials, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
She said Afghan security "cannot only be measured by the absence of war". A US diplomat said the money will come with conditions to ensure it does not fall victim to rampant Afghan corruption and mismanagement.
"It has to be measured by whether people have jobs and economic opportunity; whether they believe the government is meeting their needs," Clinton said.
Clinton said Afghanistan has made substantial progress over the last decade, but needs effective collaboration between its government, private sector, neighbors and international donors "so that this decade of transformation can produce results".