Following the declaration by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Afghanistan is now a "major, non-NATO ally" of the United States, an 80-nation conference to cough up money for the newly minted US ally was held in Tokyo, in which international donors including the ever-obliging Japanese government pledged the total of $16 billion through 2015.
And what will the donors get from the Afghanistan's government in exchange?
Get this: "commitments to crack down on corruption".
From The Hill (7/8/2012):
Clinton hails international pledges to donate $16B for Afghan development
By Meghashyam Mali - 07/08/12 08:06 AM ET
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 said the sum was “more than enough to meet the World Bank’s estimated requirements.” The bank had estimated that Afghanistan faced a $3.9 billion shortfall between previous pledges and the amount the country would need to sustain their economic development.
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.
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.”
(Full article at the link)
They can, but they may not. I doubt that Afghan self-sufficiency is ever a goal for the US.
Becoming a "major non-NATO US ally" means more military and economic assistance from the US. Snippets from CNN News (7/7/2012):
... it makes Afghanistan eligible to receive military training and assistance, including expediting the sales and leasing of military equipment long after NATO troops leave.
"There are a number of benefits that accrue to countries that have this designation," she said. "They are able to have access to excess defense supplies, for example, and they can be part of certain kinds of training and capacity building."
(I'd be more than happy to crack down on corruption in my household. Can I get a million dollar or two?)