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Afghanistan Aid Tied To Fighting Graft, Abuses

Afghan vendors wait for customers at a busy market on a cold day in Kabul on November 19.

A senior U.S. diplomat says continued international aid for Afghanistan will depend partly on its progress in fighting corruption and human rights abuses.

Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Daniel Feldman, speaking in Brussels on December 2 ahead of a donors' conference in London, said the new Afghan government has shown "commitment to fundamental reforms" but much remains to be done.

Answering an RFE/RL question during a telephone news briefing, Feldman said donors expect the new Afghan leadership to outline its future strategy to fight corruption and improve the human rights situation in the country.

"A portion of our assistance will continue to be channeled through incentive mechanisms to encourage Afghan progress on a range of reforms, and part of that will be anticorruption as well," Feldman said.

New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah are due to meet donor representatives in London, where an international conference on Afghanistan and associated events will be held on December 3–4.

The U.S. envoy said participants in the London Conference on Afghanistan are expecting the new leadership to outline its future strategy to fight corruption and improve the human rights situation according to the 2012 Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF).

Under the framework, adopted in July 2012, international donors pledged to provide Afghanistan with $16 billion in development assistance through 2015, while the Afghan government committed to governance reforms, including holding credible elections, tackling corruption, improving financial transparency and promoting human rights, including the rights of women and girls.​

Daniel Feldman
Daniel Feldman

​But the previous Afghan government came under repeated criticism for implementing its part of the deal, and the new government has been under pressure to reverse the trend.

Feldman said that "clearly, there's work to be done" in Afghanistan to combat widespread corruption and human rights violations.

But he welcomed encouraging steps such as the reopening of the investigation into the corruption scandal surrounding Kabul Bank, which was Afghanistan's largest private bank before it collapsed in 2010 with almost $1 billion in debt.

He also welcomed the new authorities' move to allow the return to the country of "New York Times" reporter Matthew Rosenberg.

The reporter had been ordered out of Afghanistan in August by the government of former President Hamid Karzai for apparently refusing to reveal the sources for one of his articles.

"We are looking to their vision that they outline starting in London in terms of what will be done or continue to be done on the anticorruption and rights-related agenda," Feldman said. "Part of this will be refreshing the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework over the course of the next half year or so, including senior officials meeting this next year."