LONDON—The U.S., European Union and other international donors pledged billions of dollars in aid to war-torn Afghanistan, but said disbursement would depend on progress in talks between Kabul and the Taliban to end nearly two decades of fighting.
Over 100 countries and organizations committed about $3 billion in total development support to Afghanistan for 2021 at a quadrennial aid conference in Geneva, which was hosted virtually by the United Nations, Finland and Afghanistan this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Annual commitments are expected to continue at that level.
The U.S. pledged $600 million for next year, with half of that dependent on progress in the peace process, which would be reviewed during 2021, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said at the conference. The incoming Biden administration will have to assess the commitment.
The total commitment of about $12 billion for the next four-year period fell short of the $15.2 billion pledged in 2016. The drop in funding was expected ahead of the conference due to financial strain on donors from the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty over the continuing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban as the U.S. draws down its troops there.
President Trump last week ordered the Pentagon to accelerate the drawdown of American troops to 2,500 from the current 4,500 before Inauguration Day in January. The withdrawal is part of a deal struck between the Trump administration and the Taliban in February, which commits the insurgents to negotiations with the Kabul government for a long-term cease-fire, and to prevent international terrorist organizations like al Qaeda from operating on Afghan soil.