July 9, 2012 - 19:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - President Hamid Karzai said Monday, July 9 he is encouraged by pledges to provide Afghanistan with $16 billion in aid, but warned that corruption in his country cannot be rooted out unless donors themselves take more action, the Associated Press reports.
Karzai said fighting corruption is one of the most crucial chores Afghanistan now faces. But he said his government was not solely to blame, noting that the selection process for development projects, which have poured billions of dollars into his war-torn country's fragile economy, can lead to influence-buying, while higher pay for foreign workers creates a wage gap that fuels resentment.
Karzai stressed that he is grateful for the pledges made Sunday at a conference in Tokyo to help his country after most foreign troops pull out or move into support roles by the end of 2014. Because of concerns over mismanagement and endemic corruption, that aid, to be provided over the next four years, is tied to a new monitoring process.
Karzai stressed Monday that the way aid up until now has been administered has been a problem on both sides.
"The way donor assistance is given to Afghanistan, the way it is disbursed inside Afghanistan, the projects selected for such an assistance and the manner of contracting and contractual mechanism, all of those are the issues that we have to address," he said. "On corruption, two hands must clap."
Karzai and his top ministers said the aid pledged at the Tokyo conference exceeded their expectations and sends a strong signal that the international community will not abandon Afghanistan after most troops leave.