Afghanistan seeks more foreign aid

KABUL – Afghanistan’s government, largely reliant on foreign help for its security and economy, has called for the launch of another donors’ meeting to garner more international aid.

More than six years after U.S.-led and Afghan rebel forces overthrew the Taliban government, frustration is rising among many Afghans over growing insecurity and the perceived lack of economic development, despite some $18 billion of foreign aid spent since then.

The last donors conference on Afghanistan was held in London in 2006 and its major benchmarks will be completed by the end of this year.

The Afghan government hopes a similar meeting will be held in France and the issue was discussed between Afghan and French leaders last month, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Like the London conference, the Paris meeting will be focused on ways of combating militancy and illegal drugs production, as well as reconstruction and the development of state institutions, the ministry’s spokesman said.

“We will put forward our assessment and plans for assurance of sustained aid and new assistance,” Sultan Ahmad Baheen said.

Baheen could not say how much money Afghanistan would ask the donors to pledge at the Paris conference and had no specific date for when it would take place.

He said only 25 percent of the $18 billion allocated in the past for Afghanistan, was spent through the Afghan government.

Much aid has been squandered due to poor coordination between aid agencies and the government resulting in overlap in some areas, quick fix projects lacking long-term financial support and a lack of an overall strategy, analysts say.

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