Tokyo conference: Donors offer $16 bn in Afghanistan aid

Last Updated: Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 16:22

Zeenews Bureau

Tokyo: Hoping to stabilise Afghanistan`s future after the foreign troops` exit, international donors on Sunday met in Tokyo and pledged to shell out USD 16 billion in Afghan aid.

But the money will come with conditions to ensure it doesn`t fall victim to rampant Afghan corruption and mismanagement, said a US official.

The Tokyo conference to discuss aid for Afghanistan beyond 2014, was attended by representatives from about 80 countries and international aid organizations, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

A follow-up meeting is to be held in Britain in 2014.

"Afghanistan`s security cannot only be measured by the absence of war," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an international donors conference in Tokyo.

"It has to be measured by whether people have jobs and economic opportunity, whether they believe their government is serving their needs, whether political reconciliation proceeds and succeeds," Clinton added.

Though the US didn`t mention any exact moneatry figure for their expected aid,
but an American official traveling with Hillary Rodham Clinton had spoken ahead of the event, on condition of anonymity, and said USD 4 billion per year would be promised from 2012 through 2015.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the country faces a hard road ahead, but vowed to improve security and fight corruption as it moves toward a more self-reliant future.

The US portion is expected to be in the decade-long annual range of USD 1 billion to this year`s USD 2.3 billion.

The Obama administration has requested a similarly high figure for next year as it draws down American troops and hands over greater authority to Afghan forces.

Japan, the second-largest donor, says it will provide up to USD 3 billion through 2016. Germany has announced it will keep its contribution to rebuilding and development at its current level of USD 536 million a year, at least until 2016.

The Asian Development Bank announced it is providing USD 1.2 billion through 2016.
"I am encouraged that the member states are willing to mobilise USD 16 billion," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"Afghanistan has made important progress, but the gains are fragile."

The total amount of international civilian support represents a slight trailing off from the current annual level of around USD 5 billion, a number somewhat inflated by US efforts to effect a "civilian surge" for Afghan reconstruction, mirroring President Barack Obama`s decision in 2009 to ramp up military manpower in the hopes of routing the Taliban insurgency.

Still, it is a large sum of cash designed to allay fears that Afghanistan will be abandoned when NATO and other international soldiers leave the country.

It will come with conditions, as well, with the donors` meeting in Japan expected to establish a road map of accountability to ensure that Afghanistan does more to improve governance and finance management, and to safeguard the democratic process, rule of law and human rights, especially those of women.

Foreign aid in the decade since the US invasion in 2001 has led to better education and health care, with nearly 8 million children, including 3 million girls, enrolled in schools. That compares with 1 million children more than a decade ago, when girls were banned from school under the Taliban.

Improved health facilities have halved child mortality and expanded basic health services to nearly 60 percent of Afghanistan population of more than 25 million, compared with less than 10 percent in 2001.

With Agency Inputs



First Published: Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 09:45

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