But donors also insisted that continued aid was conditional on effective reforms to tackle the scourge of corruption. The Afghan government “must do its part to implement the essential elements of stability and security,” Pompeo warned, stressing the need for economic reforms and redoubled efforts to fight corruption.
Faced with the possibility of making less money this time around, Afghan officials stressed that their dedication to improving human rights and peace negotiations was reason enough to continue supporting overseas. Speaking on Tuesday at the Geneva conference from Kabul by video conference, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan called on the international community “to help us do more with less”.
“Financial resources – aid – will continue to be critical to our growth for the foreseeable future, even as we have balanced that dependency significantly over the past six years,” he said.
Just days before the Geneva conference, Ghani established a new anti-corruption commission, years after pledging to do so after his election in 2014. Anti-corruption experts in Afghanistan see the commission as the latest of a repeated number of such bodies set up over the past two decades, and it is riddled with troubling issues, including a lack of independent oversight, and staffed with people close to it. Mr. Ghani’s office.
The Taliban, pointing to the endemic corruption of the Afghan government, said the Geneva conference funds should be given directly to the people or the Taliban for the sake of transparency. The insurgent group has long used the government’s loopholes for propaganda purposes, particularly its failure to secure the capital, Kabul.
In addition to the Taliban insurgency wreaking havoc in almost every corner of the country and killing dozens almost daily, the coronavirus has stunted Afghanistan’s economic growth by several years, according to a recent United Nations report.
International diplomats, whose countries’ economies are also suffering from the pandemic, have openly grown weary of the 19-year-old war and frustrated by the Afghan government’s repeated promises to tackle corruption without fully following through.