By Meghashyam Mali - 07/08/12 12:06 PM EDT
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed international donors on Sunday for pledging to provide Afghanistan with $16 billion in aid thorough 2015 in exchange for commitments to crack down on corruption in that country.
Clinton announced the agreement after a conference on Afghan development hosted in Japan.
Clinton stressed that the pledges were tied to promises to begin tackling widespread corruption in the country, which had made international donors hesitant to contribute.
“We need a different kind of long-term economic partnership, one built on Afghan progress in meeting its goals, in fighting corruption, in carrying out reform, and providing good governance,” she said in a press conference.
Reports said Japan had initially sought $18 billion in commitments, but settled for a lower figure after continued doubts about Hamid Karzai’s ability to institute reforms.
Another summit is scheduled to be held in the Britain in 2014 to assess how funds have been spent and government efforts to fight corruption.
While Clinton did not specify the contribution the U.S. intended to make, she did say that the administration would “be working with Congress to provide assistance at or near the levels of the past decade through 2017.”
The Obama administration is taking efforts to shore up the stability of Afghanistan and reassure allies to continue support after the departure of NATO forces in 2014.
In May, NATO leaders met in Chicago to endorse an exit strategy and cement an agreement to continue provide training and assistance to Afghan security forces after the military alliance withdraws.
The development aid pledged Sunday would be spent on healthcare and education and would be in addition to $4.1 billion in military aid pledged to Afghanistan.
On Saturday, Clinton also arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit to announce the administration’s designation of Afghanistan as a “major non-NATO ally.” That announcement is part of a broader strategic partnership between Washington and Kabul.
In Tokyo, Clinton said the U.S. was committed to ensure that the transition to a democratic Afghanistan was “irreversible and that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for international terrorism.”
“Just as we met in Chicago three months ago to safeguard Afghanistan’s security future, today we have charted a way forward on Afghanistan’s economic requirements,” she said.
But Clinton cautioned that Afghanistan would eventually need to pull itself off dependence on international aid. “I believe that we have really made a good commitment to putting Afghanistan on a path to economic self-sufficiency,” she said. “As Afghan capacity and revenues increase, our contributions can decline.”