August 02, 2014

NATO must stick to Afghanistan funding pledges, Clinton

By Sayed Jawad - Thu Dec 06, 9:23 am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday it was crucial that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) allies stick to their commitments to fund Afghanistan’s security forces after Western forces end their combat role in the country in 2014.

Afghanistan’s foreign backers have pledged $4.1 billion (2.5 billion pounds) per year to fund Afghan security forces after 2014, Reuters reported, but there are concerns that European countries hit by austerity cutbacks may not be able to meet their commitments.

Speaking at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, Clinton reminded austerity-hit European nations of their commitments to the $4.1bn pledged annually to the Central Asian nation after foreign forces end their combat role.

“It will be crucial for every nation to follow through on their commitments, and for those who haven’t yet committed any funding to do so,” Clinton said at the meeting of countries contributing to the NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan.

Clinton said it was essential to focus on economic and political transition in Afghanistan for which countries have pledged $16 billion, and stressed the importance of regional support.

“Every nation in the region has a stake in Afghanistan’s future and a responsibility to step up and help secure it,” she said.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stressed the importance of European countries delivering on aid commitments.

“Of course that is not easy during times of tightening purse strings. But it is in the interest of European citizens. That is why I am making sure that the commitments made are kept,” she told reporters.

NATO foreign ministers have tackled the problem of Afghanistan’s future after the alliance withdraws its troops in 2014.

At the NATO talks in Brussels Wednesday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle emphasized the need for a successful handover of security by 2014.

“We don’t want Afghanistan to fall back into chaos, in a power vacuum, where terrorists and terrorism can thrive. This has to do with Afghanistan having a reliable perspective also after 2014,” Westerwelle said.

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