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Donors pledge $16 bn Afghan aid at Tokyo meet

Donor nations readied today to pledge $16 billion for Afghanistan to prevent the country from sliding back into turmoil when foreign combat troops depart, but the aid was expected to come with strings attached.

world Updated: Jul 08, 2012 18:49 IST

Donor nations today pledged $16 billion for Afghanistan to prevent the country from sliding back into turmoil when foreign combat troops depart, but called on Kabul to implement reforms to fight graft.

A statement at the closing of a conference in Tokyo confirmed donors would stump up $16 billion in civilian aid through 2015, with several pre-conditions including a clampdown on corruption.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was in the Japanese capital along with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for talks focused on the so-called "transformation decade" after the NATO drawdown.

"(The agreement) established a renewed, stronger foundation for partnership to support sustainable growth and development of Afghanistan throughout the transformation decade", the statement said.

Today's conference hosted representatives from about 80 nations and international organisations in a gathering aimed at adopting the "Tokyo Declaration", pledging support and cash for the turmoil-wracked nation.

The deal is meant to plug the gap between what Kabul gets from its barely-functioning economy and what it needs to develop into a stable country.

Afghanistan covers only a third of the $6 billion it spends each year, not counting security costs, and has for a long time been heavily dependent on aid.

There are fears that once the US and its allies no longer have to worry about their soldiers dying in Afghanistan after the 2014 pullout, the country could be left to drift into the hands of drug lords and extremists.

The deal calls for a monitoring mechanism, and follow-up ministerial meetings every two years, to ensure Afghanistan was on the right track with respect to holding democratic elections, fighting corruption and promoting human rights.

ht epaper

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