International donors, including the US and Japan, pledged $16 million in development aid to Afghanistan at the Tokyo Conference yesterday. Four million dollars will be provided annually through 2015. By providing this assistance, the international community expressed its commitment to assist with the stabilization of Afghanistan as international troops are withdrawn from the country.
In providing the aid, donor nations also expressed the need for the Afghan government to make progress in the areas of governance and the rule of law and to protect human rights and women’s rights. In stressing the US commitment to Afghan women’s rights, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in her remarks, “let me emphasize that the United States believes strongly that no nation can achieve sustainable peace, reconciliation, stability, and economic growth if half the population is not empowered. All citizens need to have the benefit from and contribute to Afghanistan’s progress, and the United States will continue to stand strongly by the women of Afghanistan.”
Many of the donors, including the US, also underscored the need for financial accountability and for the government to take steps to eliminate corruption. The aid will include a new monitoring process and require transparency in implementation of programs.
In expressing his gratitude for the aid, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said “Yesterday’s event reminded us once again, luckily, that the international community continues to be supportive of Afghanistan’s desire for a better life, for a stronger country, with strong and better institutions, and economy.”
Media Resources: Huffington Post 7/6/2012; Associated Press 7/9/2012; Reuters 7/8/2012; Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan 7/l8/2012