GENEVA - Afghanistan received pledges Tuesday from countries and international organizations of $3 billion in development support for 2021 with a total of $12 billion offered over four years at a conference held at the UN in Geneva.
Finland's Development Minister Ville Skinnari announced the pledge at a press conference after the end of the two-day high-level meeting on Afghanistan to drive a peace process involving the Taliban.
"The government of Afghanistan and the development partners agreed on a set of principles underpinning the cooperates’ respect for democracy. The rule of law, human rights and gender equality are three requisites for the future cooperates," said Skinnari.
"Particular attention will be paid to anti-corruption measures."
The $12 billion was less than the $15 billion offered at a similar conference in Brussels in 2016.
The UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, said the pledged amounts are "not coming freely."
"It comes with concern that violence must be reduced, that a cease-fire must be achieved.
"Other conditions mentioned…a strong mandate on anti-corruption measures on ensuring that women's rights, minority rights, freedoms of the press, ethnic rights, religious rights continue to be maintained, and in fact, enhanced where possible," said Lyons.
Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said "the Taliban must listen to the demands made by the entire world.”
"The Taliban knows that there is no military solution to this problem. Nobody will be the winner from this war, but everybody will be the winner from a peaceful political solution,” he said.
"If they don't accept, they will have to explain to the Afghan people that they are denying them assistance. So the Taliban have every incentive to take advantage of this."
Under a US-Taliban peace deal signed in February, the Taliban insurgents agreed to halt attacks on major cities and provincial capitals.
The aim of the two-day Geneva event, which coincides with ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders in Qatar, is to determine shared development goals and commitments over the next four years.
Co-hosted by Afghanistan and Finland with the UN, 66 countries, international organizations and agencies participated as well as civil society representatives, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said.
Previous meetings took place in 2016 in Brussels and Tokyo in 2012, but organizers have so far avoided saying how much they would like to raise in pledges.
The European Union pledged 1.2 billion euros ($1.43 billion) over the coming four years, making its support conditional on the strife-torn country's commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality.
"Afghanistan's future trajectory must preserve the democratic and human rights gains since 2001, most notably as regards women's and children's rights," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. "Any attempt to restore an Islamic emirate would have an impact on our political and financial engagement."
“We, the Afghans, want an end to the violence and are committed to finding a political settlement that can not only bring an end to the suffering of the Afghan people but strengthen, safeguard and preserve the gains of the past 19 years,” said Afghan Finance Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.