Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Hidden Agenda of Afghan Donors

Kabul should be wary of the motives of some of the countries contributing to the Afghan reconstruction process.
By Thomas Withington

Afghan prime minister Hamid Karzai is sitting easier now that the international community has pledged 4.5 billion US dollars for reconstruction of his country over the next five years.


But the funding is not quite the generous provision of aid that it seems. A number of the donor countries who offered aid at last week's Tokyo conference do not have a record of joining in such programmes.


Humanitarian appeals doubtless influenced Iran, India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to reach deep into their pockets, but self-interest was clearly another factor, especially among those countries bordering on Afghanistan.


All these countries have vested interests in Afghanistan. Knowing Kabul is wary of foreign interference, which has caused so much trouble in the past, they believe assisting the reconstruction process is a way of currying favour with Karzai's government.


Iran, one of the Taleban's bitterest foes, surprised many when it pledged a 560 million dollar package over the next five years. It would be na