International leaders who attended the one-day Bonn Conference did what they had to do in Bonn — renew commitments to Afghanistan — but left the details of their pledges until next year.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly appealed for continued assistance to the country a decade after 2014, the year the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is scheduled to withdraw fully from the war-torn country.
“The Afghan people do not wish to remain a burden on the generosity of the international community for a single day longer than absolutely necessary,” Karzai said. “But we will need your steadfast support for at least another decade.”
But while representatives of 85 countries present at the conference pledged to support Afghanistan after 2014, none of them made specific commitments to the country, except Australia, which, in a press release, said it will be working on a $36 million four-year project focusing on education and health in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province.
The United States, for one, resumed the disbursement of the $700 million it froze in the summer for the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund. However, it has not made any new aid commitments to the country.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “the United States intends to stay the course” in Afghanistan after NATO troops leave on 2014, but she said “Afghans have more work to do” in ensuring the aid they are asking would not go to waste, as noted in The Washington Post.
Donor governments want Afghanistan to commit to mutual accountability to ensure aid sent to the country would not be shadowed by corruption issues, which even Karzai believes are obstacles to the country’s development. Commitment details are expected to be discussed at a separate donor conference in Tokyo in July.
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