WORLD NEWS TOMORROW – India and other key world powers today vowed never to allow Afghanistan to become a sanctuary for global terrorism again, as major donors pledged $16 billion in aid to the war-torn country to prevent it from sliding back into turmoil after foreign forces leave in 2014.
The “Tokyo Declaration” adopted at the end of the day-long conference on Afghanistan said the participants, including external affairs minister S M Krishna and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, reaffirmed their respect for sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and independence of Afghanistan, which constitutes an integral component of the peace, well-being and prosperity of the region and beyond.
Also, the participants from over 70 countries welcomed the results of the Delhi Investors’ Summit on Afghanistan hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industries on June 28 in Delhi, which benefited from many participants from neighboring countries, and underscored the importance of implementing the recommendations of the summit, it said.
Asserting that peace and security are the foundation on which a stable and prosperous society is built, they recognized that the main threat to Afghanistan’s security and stability comes from terrorism and that this threat also endangers regional and international peace and security.
In this regard, the participants recognized the regional dimensions of terrorism and extremism, including terrorist safe havens, and emphasized the need for sincere and result-oriented regional and international cooperation towards a region free from terrorism in order to secure Afghanistan and safeguard the region and world against the terrorist threat.
They renewed their firm determination to combat terrorism and extremism in all their forms and never to allow Afghanistan to become a sanctuary for international terrorism again, the declaration said.
Donors at the meet also pledged $16 billion in civilian aid to Afghanistan through 2015, with several per-conditions, including a clampdown on corruption.
In his opening remarks at the conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed to “fight corruption with strong resolve”.
He said that despite the progress made in the past 10 years, Afghanistan’s economy remained vulnerable and security a major obstacle.
“It will take many years of hard work on our part as Afghans, as well as continued empowering support from our international partners before Afghanistan can achieve prosperity and self-reliance,” he said. “We must do what we can to deepen the roots of security and make the transition irreversible.”
Clinton stressed the need for reform to safeguard changes achieved in Afghanistan. “That must include fighting corruption, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law, increasing access to economic opportunity for all Afghans, especially for women,” she said.
Addressing the meeting, external affairs minister S M Krishna said that India does not visualize its partnership with Afghanistan as “conditions-based or transitory, nor are we looking to transition out of this partnership.”
“In spite of not being a traditional donor country, we have shared significant resources for Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development.