EU Pledges Further Billions in aid to Afghanistan
During a virtual donor conference for Afghanistan, the European Union pledged a further 1.2 billion euros over the next four years.
The European Union has committed itself to additional financial support to Afghanistan for the next four years. The EU’s Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen announced at the donor conference in Geneva that the EU will provide the country with a further 1.2 billion euros for four years.
Representatives from more than 70 countries attended the virtual donor conference – including UN Secretary-General António Guterres and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as numerous diplomats and representatives of civil society and international organizations – with the aim to raise funds for Afghanistan. In 2016, a donor conference in Brussels raised approximately $ 15 billion for four years for the country.
This year, however, significantly less support is expected.
During the conference, the European Union’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell called for an immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan. He warned any efforts to build a caliphate in the country would undermine the EU’s financial commitment to the country.
Peace in Afghanistan was an essential prerequisite for implementing the ambitious development and reform plans, said Guterres at the start of the donor conference. “I appeal to all sides to redouble efforts for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire,” he said.
President Ashraf Ghani also said peace was a top priority for the people of Afghanistan. “Today we, the Afghan people, the government and the international community share the vision of a sovereign, united, democratic Afghanistan that lives in peace with itself, the region and the world,” he said. “We must not allow history to repeat its tragedies here in Afghanistan.” Ghani thanked taxpayers in donor countries for their help.
After decades of conflict and civil war, Afghanistan remains economically challenged. Attacks by the militant Islamist Taliban, who are currently negotiating with the Afghan government, have devastated the country. The Taliban reject a ceasefire during the negotiations and continue to commit atrocities, while the Islamic State (IS) is also regaining a foothold in the region. Furthermore, with the conclusion of the American withdrawal in the next year, stability is imperative if the country seeks to have a future.
Moreover, droughts that have made food scarce and the consequences of the COVID19 pandemic have also dampened the hope for a quick turnaround of the situation that has had the Afghan people suffer.