Donors Expected to Pledge $16 Billion in Afghan Aid
Donors are expected to pledge $16 billion in aid for Afghanistan over the next four years, a U.S. official said on Saturday, as Washington kept a promise to declare the country a major non-NATO ally.
The upgrade in Afghanistan’s security status, a largely symbolic move for now, and a donors’ conference to be held in Tokyo on Sunday both aim to reinforce the U.S. message to Afghans that they will not be abandoned as the war winds down.
The new status may help Afghanistan acquire U.S. defense supplies and have greater access to U.S. training as the Afghan army takes more responsibility for the country’s security ahead of the 2014 withdrawal of most NATO combat troops.
Donor fatigue and war weariness are taking their toll on how long the global community is willing to support Afghanistan and there are fears that without financial backing, the country could slip back into chaos when foreign troops withdraw.
“Please know that the United States will be your friend and your partner. We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan. Quite the opposite,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during an unannounced visit to Kabul before flying to Tokyo.