Afghanistan nets $16 billion support

Afghanistan nets $16 billion support

Afghanistan nets $16 billion support

Afghan President Karzai (front row 3rd R), UN Secretary General Ban (R), Japan’s PM Noda (2nd R), US Secretary of State Clintondo gather for a group photo in Tokyo. AFP photo

Major donors pledged yesterday to give Afghanistan $16 billion in development aid through 2015 as they try to prevent it from sliding back into chaos when foreign troops leave, but demanded reforms to fight widespread corruption.

“Afghanistan’s security cannot only be measured by the absence of war,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an international donors’ conference in Tokyo, Reuters reported.

“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.” The roughly $4 billion in annual aid pledged at the meeting, attended by 80 countries, including Turkey, and international organizations, fell short of the $6 billion a year the Afghan central bank has said will be needed to foster economic growth over the next decade. The Afghan economy relies heavily on international development and military assistance. The World Bank says aid makes up more than 95% of Afghanistan’s economy.

Turkey pledges $150 mln

Clinton and other donors also said Afghanistan’s taking aggressive action to fight graft and promote reforms was important. Afghan President Hamid Karzai admitted his government needs to do more to tackle corruption, but his critics say he is not doing enough, and some directly blame authorities for vast amounts of aid not reaching the right people.

Turkish Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz represented Turkey in the conference, Anatolia news agency reported. For its part, Turkey committed to give $150 million for development projects between 2015 and 2017. In Afghanistan, roadside bombs and insurgent attacks killed 16 Afghan civilians, five policemen and two members of NATO yesterday.

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