Ten years after the first international gathering in Afghanistan that paved the way for the country’s interim government, international leaders once again meet in Bonn on Monday (Dec. 5) to renew their commitments for the war-torn country’s future.
The conference will center on donors committing to continue sending financial support for Afghanistan even after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s exit in 2014. This will address fears economic assistance to the country would start to dwindle as military efforts decrease, especially with donors tightening foreign aid budgets due to a weak economy.
“We hope that governments attending this meeting fully seize the opportunity to do better than they have to date. Much more needs to be done to put Afghanistan on the road to recovery, stability and sustainable development,” InterAction President and CEO Samuel A. Worthington said.
In a draft report Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to deliver on the conference, as mentioned in The Washington Post, Afghanistan projects it would need $10 billion annually in economic assistance, including costs to support the country’s military force. The report claims the figure is much lower “than a single year of current military expenditure” of $140 billion.
The assistance is critical to Afghanistan’s economic growth, with the United States and the World Bank anticipating the country’s economy will drop by more than half once the Afghan government assumes responsibility over the country’s security.
According to a senior official of one of several international organizations working in Afghanistan, economic assistance to the country “is an obligation that has to be met to ensure that we don’t throw away 10 years of blood and treasure spent” keeping the Taliban at bay, as quoted by The Washington Post.
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