$12b pledged with conditions | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:13 AM, November 26, 2020

Afghanistan aid conference

$12b pledged with conditions

Donors demanded an immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan as they pledged around $12 billion in aid over four years -- but tied their money to civil rights being upheld in peace talks with the Taliban. 

At a virtual global donor conference hosted from the UN in Geneva, countries affirmed their commitment to propping up a nation beset by violence between the Taliban and government forces, rampant corruption and an imminent withdrawal of US troops.

The international community called for an "immediate permanent and comprehensive ceasefire", as at least 14 people were killed in central Afghanistan when two blasts ripped through the historic city of Bamiyan, home to many members of the mainly Shia Hazara ethnic minority.

The twin bombing marked the latest big attack in Afghanistan, where violence has surged in recent months even as Taliban and Afghan government negotiators are meeting for peace talks in Qatar.

Efforts to rebuild Afghanistan began soon after a US-led invasion ousted the hardline Taliban regime from power in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Donor nations gather every four years to pledge aid to Afghanistan, which is almost entirely reliant on foreign assistance despite years of promised reforms and attempts to grow the economy.

The Geneva conference insisted that the gains made over the last 19 years must be secured, namely democracy, the rule of law and human rights -- notably those of women, minorities and children.

With the final figures still to be collated, donors had pledged more than $3 billion for 2021.

Annual commitments are expected to stay at that level, dependent on Kabul's performance, said Finnish development minister Ville Skinnari, who co-chaired the conference.

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