Major donor countries pledged $16 billion in development aid to help Afghanistan sustain its progress to date at the Tokyo Conference (8 July). Their main concern is to prevent economic and security relapses following the 2014 withdrawal of NATO forces.

Although situation in Afghanistan has significantly changed since the first Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan (2001), the country remains fragile, said Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added: “failure to invest in governance, justice, human rights, employment and social development could negate investment and sacrifices that have been made over the last 10 years.” 

The funds are pledged on several conditions requiring substantial reforms. In the first place, donors require improving financial governance to fight the widespread economic corruption in the country. Further, Afghanistan will need to promote democratic principles. “That must include fighting corruption, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law, increasing access to economic opportunity for all Afghans, especially for women,” said United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In the meantime, 14 civilians and seven NATO military personnel were killed in a weekend (July 8) roadside bombings in eastern and southern Afghanistan. 

(Photo © AFP)