International Donors Likely To Pledge Less Aid For Afghanistan In Geneva Conference

Amid uncertainty over the peace talks with the Taliban, Afghanistan is likely to receive reduced pledges for aid from international donors who will meet at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva later this month, sources told Reuters.

Despite the ongoing, albeit at a stand-still, peace talks in Doha, and Washington’s decision to withdraw its troops by May 2021, Afghanistan remains a country dependent on foreign aid.

In fact, donors may feel uneasy as the drawdown leaves behind a nation where the Taliban could secure greater influence and hardliners may try to roll back the progress made in the past 19 years.

Analysts see foreign aid as vital in helping donors shape policies of any future Afghan government and that it provides leverage over the Taliban.

“It’s one of the primary forms of leverage the US and international community believe they have over the Taliban,” Andrew Watkins, an analyst for International Crisis Group, told Reuters.

“Any future Afghan state will rely on foreign aid almost as much as the current one does,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made Afghanistan’s plight worse, but donors are likely to tell Afghanistan to expect, possibly significantly, less aid, while also imposing stricter conditions and committing funds for a shorter period, three sources told Reuters.

All three sources said the U.S., Afghanistan’s largest donor, is likely to make deep cuts to its current annual contribution of around $800 million for civilian funding, beyond the money allocated for defence and security needs.

Other NATO members like Britain and France were also considering reducing pledges, while Australia was planning cuts of up to 30%, two sources told Reuters.

3 / November 2020
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