However, donors also insisted that further aid depends on effective reforms to tackle the risk of corruption. The Afghan government “must do its part to implement essential elements of stability and security,” warned Pompeo, stressing the need for economic reforms and further efforts to fight corruption.

Faced with the possibility of making less money this time, Afghan officials have cited their commitment to human rights improvements and to the peace negotiations as reason enough for continued support from abroad. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan addressed the Geneva conference on Tuesday via videoconference from Kabul and asked the international community “to help us do more with less”.

“Financial resources – aid – will continue to be critical to our growth for the foreseeable future, even though we have significantly offset that dependency over the past six years,” he said.

Just days before the Geneva conference, Mr Ghani set up a new anti-corruption commission years after he had committed to it after his election in 2014. Anti-corruption experts in Afghanistan consider the commission the latest in a repeated number of such bodies.It was established over the past two decades and is fraught with worrying issues, including a lack of independent oversight, and staffed close to Mr. Ghani’s office.

The Taliban pointed to the endemic corruption of the Afghan government and said that the Geneva conference funds should be passed directly to the people or the Taliban for the sake of transparency. The insurgent group has long used the government’s deficiencies for propaganda purposes, particularly its inability to secure the capital, Kabul.

Aside from the Taliban uprisings, which wreaked havoc in almost every corner of the country and killed dozens almost every day, the coronavirus has slowed Afghanistan’s economic growth for years, according to a recent report by the United Nations.

International diplomats, whose economies are also suffering from the pandemic, have openly grown tired of the 19-year war and frustrated by the Afghan government’s repeated pledges to fight corruption without fully enforcing it.


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