Japan and three other major donor countries pledged Saturday to continue to support Afghanistan’s efforts to rebuild at a conference in Tokyo.
The four countries unveiled an aid package totaling $50.7 million that is designed to help Afghan soldiers leave the military and rejoin society as civilians. The money being provided covers the budget for the first year of the three-year program.
During the Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan, Japan pledged to provide $35 million, the U.S. offered $10 million, Britain some $3.5 million and Canada $2.2 million.
The process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration — known as DDR — of former combatants into Afghan society will cost about $134 million over three years, according to the United Nations Development Program.
More than 30 donor countries, the European Union and about 10 international institutions took part in the conference.
In addition to the four major donors, many other countries expressed readiness to offer financial aid, although they did not provide specific figures during the meeting.
Germany, which is in charge of organizing the new police force in Afghanistan, said it will cooperate closely with Japan to reduce the number of Afghan police officials.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai emphasized the importance of the DDR plan to ensure peace and security in his homeland.
“Achieving DDR answers the deepest aspirations of the Afghan people, who are eager to move away from war and violence toward a peaceful, safe and civil society,” Karzai said in his opening speech.
Afghanistan has between 150,000 and 200,000 soldiers, of which 100,000 will be discharged in line with the reorganization of the country’s military and police forces.
Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi vowed to continue her commitment toward Afghanistan’s reconstruction process and called on the international community to continue to support the “from guns to plows” plan.
Each of the major donor nations has already played a leading role in supporting Afghan’s efforts to rebuild, with Japan taking responsibility for the DDR program.
Some 34 countries and 12 international organizations attended the conference. Among the participants were Sadako Ogata, special representative of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for Assistance to Afghanistan, and Lakhdar Brahimi, special representative of the U.N. secretary general for Afghanistan.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.