8 Jul 2012

Donors pledge $16b in civilian aid to Afghanistan

7:57 pm on 8 July 2012

Donors at a conference on Afghanistan have pledged to give it $16 billion in civilian aid over four years, in an attempt to safeguard its future after foreign forces leave in 2014.

The biggest donors, the US, Japan, Germany and the UK, led the way at the Tokyo meeting in offering funds.

The BBC reports the pledge came as Afghanistan agreed to new conditions to deal with endemic corruption.

There are fears Afghanistan may relapse into chaos after the NATO pullout.

The Afghan economy relies heavily on international development and military assistance. The World Bank says aid makes up more than 95% of Afghanistan's GDP.

In his opening remarks at the conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged to "fight corruption with strong resolve".

He said that despite the progress made in the past 10 years, Afghanistan's economy remained vulnerable and security a major obstacle.

"It will take many years of hard work on our part as Afghans, as well as continued empowering support from our international partners before Afghanistan can achieve prosperity and self-reliance," he said.

"We must do what we can to deepen the roots of security and make the transition irreversible."

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan itself a regional police chief said two roadside bombs killed 14 civilians and injured another three in the southern Kandahar province.

The first bomb hit a car, and the second exploded when a tractor arrived to rescue the wounded. Women and children are among the dead, the regional governor's office said.