Afghanistan Donors Pledge Less and Demand Peace Progress
Diplomats from more than 60 countries pledged about $12 billion in civilian aid to Afghanistan over the next four years, but conditioned it on progress in peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which began in September. The commitments were announced Tuesday at the quadrennial United Nations 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva. As the meeting took place, twin bomb attacks on a crowded market in the central Afghan city of Bamiyan killed at least 14 people, and injured dozens. The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack. Previous donor conferences have raised up to $16 million, but this year donor countries face financial strain from a sagging world economy, as well as the coronavirus pandemic. The United States, which invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to stop the Taliban, has provided about $800 million a year in civilian aid. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that: “The choices made in peace negotiations will affect the size and scope of future international support and assistance.” The US is planning to pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan in the coming weeks.