The Times West Virginian

World News

July 8, 2012

Afghan donors meet, offer $16 billion in development aid

TOKYO — International donors pledged Sunday $16 billion in badly needed development aid for Afghanistan over the next four years when most foreign troops will leave as Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged the international community not to abandon his country.

The major donors’ conference, attended by about 70 countries and organizations, is aimed at setting aid levels for the crucial period through and beyond 2014, when most NATO-led foreign combat troops will leave and the war-torn country will assume responsibility for most of its own security.

“I request Afghanistan’s friends and partners to reassure the Afghan people that you will be with us,” Karzai said in his opening statement.  

Japanese foreign minister and U.S. officials traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the donors have made $16 billion available through 2015, which would be in line with the nearly $4 billion per year that the Japanese co-hosts had said they were hoping to achieve during the one-day conference.

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

But the donors are also expected to set up review and monitoring measures to assure the aid is used for development and not wasted by corruption or mismanagement, which has been a major hurdle in putting aid projects into practice.

“We have to face harsh realities filled with difficulties,”’ said Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Afghanistan has received nearly $60 billion in civilian aid since 2002. The World Bank says foreign aid makes up nearly the equivalent of the country’s gross domestic product.  

Foreign aid in the decade since the U.S. 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.

But the flow of aid is expected to sharply diminish after international troops withdraw, despite the ongoing threat the country faces from the Taliban and other Islamic militants.

Along with security issues, donors have become wary of widespread corruption and poor project governance. Before the conference, Japanese officials said they were seeking a mechanism to regularly review how the aid money is being spent, and guarantees from Kabul that aid would not be squandered.

The U.S. portion is expected to be in the decade-long annual range of $1 billion to this year’s $2.3 billion. Officials declined to outline the future annual U.S. allotments going forward, but 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.

The total amount of international civilian support represents a slight trailing off from the current annual level of around $5 billion, a number somewhat inflated by U.S. efforts to give a short-term boost to civilian reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, mirroring President Barack Obama’s decision in 2009 to ramp up military manpower in the hopes of routing the Taliban insurgency.

The aid is intended nevertheless to provide a stabilizing factor as Afghanistan transitions to greater independence from international involvement.

But it will come with conditions. The pledges are 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.

Karzai vowed to “fight corruption with strong resolve.” But he still faces international weariness with the war and frustration over his failure to crack down on corruption.

Clinton, who briefly visited the Afghan capital on Saturday before heading to Tokyo, had breakfast with Karzai and acknowledged that corruption was a “major problem.”

The $4 billion in annual civilian aid comes on top of $4.1 billion in yearly assistance pledged last May at a NATO conference in Chicago to fund the Afghan National Security Forces from 2015 to 2017.

.

 

1
Text Only
World News
  • Hamas resumes rocket fire on Israel

    Hamas resumed rocket fire Saturday on Israel after rejecting Israel’s offer to extend a humanitarian cease-fire, the latest setback in international efforts to negotiate an end to the Gaza war.
    Despite the Hamas rejection, Israel’s Cabinet decided to extend a truce for 24 hours, until midnight (2100 GMT) Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • Gaza sides agree to lull; truce stalled

    Israel-Hamas fighting looked headed for escalation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed Friday to broker a weeklong truce as a first step toward a broader deal and Israel’s defense minister warned Israel might soon expand its Gaza ground operation “significantly.”

    July 26, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
    Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.

    July 26, 2014

  • U.N. school in Gaza in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

    July 25, 2014

  • Two more planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

    July 25, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysian jet victims solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 24, 2014

  • 48 dead in Taiwan plane crash

    Family members of victims of a plane crash were flying to the small Taiwanese island on Thursday where the plane had unsuccessfully attempted to land in stormy weather, killing 48. There were 10 survivors, and authorities were searching for one person who might have been in a wrecked house on the ground.

    July 24, 2014

  • Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane crash site

    International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted.
    But before inspectors ever reach the scene, doubts arose about whether evidence was being compromised.

    July 20, 2014

  • Without radar, missile may not have identified jet

    If Ukrainian rebels shot down the Malaysian jetliner, killing 298 people, it may have been because they didn’t have the right systems in place to distinguish between military and civilian aircraft, experts said Saturday.
    American officials said Friday that they believe the Boeing 777 was brought down by an SA-11 missile fired from an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

    July 20, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads