U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who arrived in Tokyo after a brief stop in Kabul, said at the conference that the Obama administration would request from Congress funding through 2017 that is “at or near” the levels the United States has provided over the past decade, which has ranged from $1 billion to $4 billion annually.
Clinton spoke of what the Afghan government and donors have optimistically branded “the transformation decade,” and of the necessity of good governance and transparency.
“We know Afghanistan’s security cannot only be measured by the absence of war,” she told the gathering of more than 70 nations and organizations. “It has to be measured by whether people have jobs and economic opportunity, whether they believe their government is serving their needs.”
The United States remains the largest donor to Afghanistan. Japan promised up to $3 billion through 2016, and Germany said it would maintain its current funding level of about $550 million a year until at least 2016.
That is about the same amount pledged by Iran, which has been accused by the United States and NATO of destabilizing Afghanistan and which committed to $500 million for road and railway construction, among other projects mainly in the western part of the country.
“We share history, culture and religion,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. “We think when the foreign troops leave, Afghanistan needs assistance from its neighbors to make up for the last decade of destruction.”
Much of the talk in the gray-carpeted hallways of Tokyo’s Prince Park Tower Hotel dwelled on concerns about the rampant corruption in Afghanistan that has eaten away donor money in the past and whether fresh pledges by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to combat it — outlined in a document called the Mutual Accountability Framework — would make a difference this time.
The document includes specific goals and indicators of progress toward meeting those targets. For instance, “improved integrity of public financial management and the commercial banking sector” would be indicated by the government continuing to recover the nearly $1 billion in assets that were looted from Kabul Bank and prosecuting those involved in the scandal.
Although individual donor nations may decide on their own consequences if the goals are ignored, the document does not explicitly outline penalties.