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PublishDate: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 15:29

International donors likely to pledge less aid for Afghanistan in Geneva

Afghanistan is likely to receive reduced pledges for aid from international donors who will meet later this month in Geneva, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

This comes amid uncertainty over how the peace talks will progress with the Taliban, Reuters reported.

Despite peace talks underway, and Washington’s decision to withdraw troops, the country faces an uncertain future – but a future that is still dependent on aid.

The precariousness of the situation, which could see the Taliban secure greater influence, is making donors uneasy over whether the group will try to roll back progress made on human rights and girls education, Reuters reported.

But some analysts see foreign aid as vital in helping donors shape policies of any future Afghan government and that it provides leverage over the Taliban.

“It’s one of the primary forms of leverage the US and international community believe they have over the Taliban,” said Andrew Watkins, an analyst covering Afghanistan for International Crisis Group.

“Any future Afghan state will rely on foreign aid almost as much as the current one does,” he said.

Reuters reported that donors are likely to tell Afghanistan to expect, possibly significantly, less aid, while also imposing stricter conditions and committing funds for a shorter period, said three sources, who declined to be named because the discussions are private.

All three sources said the United States, Afghanistan’s largest donor, is likely to make deep cuts to its current annual contribution of around $800 million for civilian funding, beyond the money allocated for defence and security needs.

One said Washington could not only “cut aid by half”, but could also move “away from a four-year-commitment cycle” to pledge funds for just a year.

Other NATO members like Britain and France were also considering reducing pledges, while Australia was planning cuts of up to 30 percent, two sources told Reuters.

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