Tokyo, July 8 (IBNS): Donor nations on Sunday pledged $16 billion over the next four years for development projects in Afghanistan as they gathered in Tokyo for a conference on aiding the war-ravaged nation as NATO forces get ready to withdraw.
The western nations in exchange sought pledges from the Afghan government to combat corruption through external checks such as a biennial spending reviews and closer monitoring from World Bank-approved agents.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Tokyo after a brief stop in Kabul, told the conference that the Obama administration would request from Congress assistance through 2017 that is “at or near” the levels the United States has provided over the past decade.
Speaking to the gathering of more than 70 nations and organisations, Clinton mentioned of what the Afghan government and donors have optimistically branded “the transformation decade,” and of the necessity of good governance and transparency.
“We know Afghanistan’s security cannot only be measured by the absence of war. It has to be measured by whether people have jobs and economic opportunity, whether they believe their government is serving their needs,” Clinton said.
Based on Afghanistan’s efforts to become self-reliant, particularly reforms to facilitate private sector investment and regional integration along the New Silk Road, Afghanistan’s need for foreign assistance will continue to decline over the course of the decade, the U.S. said.
The international community agreed to put an increased share of resources through incentivized programs that link disbursement of on-budget assistance to specific reforms.
The Tokyo Conference highlighted the critical role of Afghan civil society in advocating for and supporting human rights, good governance and sustainable social, economic and democratic development of Afghanistan.