More than 70 governments in Brussels led by the United States and the European Union promised the financial support on concluding the two-day gathering.
President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah Abdullah, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi and other senior government officials attended the conference co-hosted by Afghanistan and the European Union.
“I want you to know that you do not make this journey alone,” EU International Development Commissioner Neven Mimica said to applause as he closed the conference.
“Now is not the time to reduce our ambition or our investment in the people of Afghanistan. I am therefore delighted to announce that we have pledged together a remarkable, an impressive amount of 15.2 billion US dollars.” In return for the international money, Afghanistan will make reform pledges on corruption and human rights, and also agree to take back migrants from Europe more quickly.
Ghani told the conference that Afghanistan was making progress on the economy, corruption and human rights, but needed constructive international support to see the changes through.
“Afghans can make peace, we will make peace, we are committed to constructive politics, not destructive politics,” he said.
Federica Mogherini, who coordinates EU foreign policy, said there was an understanding “to work on a common basis for regional political support for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.”
There have been several attempts in recent years to broker a settlement between the Western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban, but all have failed. Without the militants at the table, experts say it is hard to envisage a meaningful solution.
The United States has spent around $110 billion on Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2001, more than the cost of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt a devastated Europe after World War II, but with limited results.