Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday urged international allies to maintain their levels of aid for the next four years.
Ghani said previous funds to his country had helped to increase women’s education, improve electricity supplies, and decrease infant mortality.
“Any precipitous reduction in grant support over the next few years will lead to major setbacks in public services, economic activity, and living standards. This is important not only for development but also for peace,” Ghani said on the second day of a donor conference in Geneva.
What is the current situation in Afghanistan?
Afghanistan still heavily relies on outside funding, despite 19 years of promised reforms and attempts to grow the economy after the US ousted the Taliban in 2001.
The donor conference is taking place while the ongoing peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban hit a standstill.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said the future of millions of Afghans depends on the outcome of the peace talks in Qatar and the donors conference.
“Failure on either account would see Afghanistan slide backwards with disastrous consequences, including further displacement possibly on a large scale,” said Grandi in a statement.
Who is at the donor meeting?
Ministers from about 70 countries are taking part in the conference. Humanitarian organizations are participating as well.
Ghani’s wife, Rula Ghani, spoke at the conference on Monday, delivering a keynote address on sustainable peace building. She was joined by Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar, Grandi and UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet.
The Taliban was not invited to the conference in Geneva. The Islamist group said donors should continue humanitarian assistance, but accused the Afghan government of keeping aid money for themselves.
What are their positions?
Germany urged the international community “not to turn their backs on Afghanistan.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has further worsened already difficult living conditions for many Afghans,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. ” Millions of people depend on humanitarian help.”
Ross Wilson, US Charge d’Affaires to Afghanistan, said the US would support Afghanistan “as it moves towards self-reliance, building on the achievements and investments of the last nineteen years” in a tweet released on Monday.
Britain pledged $227 million (€191 million) in annual civilian and food aid on Tuesday.
What happened at the previous conference?
At the 2016 conference in Brussels, donors pledged $15.2 billion to Afghanistan between 2017 and 2020. The EU and its member states committed $5.6 billion of that amount.
The European Council said it was “an exceptional level of funding which ensure that Afghanistan will remain on a firm path to political and economic stability, state-building and development.”
kbd/rt (AFP, Reuters)
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