BRUSSELS: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday it was crucial that NATO allies stick to their commitments to fund Afghanistan’s security forces after Western forces end their combat role in the country in 2014.
Afghanistan’s foreign backers have pledged $4.1 billion per year to fund Afghan security forces after 2014, but there have been concerns expressed that austerity-hit European countries may not be able to meet their commitments.
“It will be crucial for every nation to follow through on their commitments, and for those who haven’t yet committed any funding to do so,” Clinton told a meeting in Brussels of NATO foreign ministers and countries contributing to the NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan.
Clinton said it was also necessary to focus on economic and political transition in Afghanistan for which countries have pledged $16 billion to support. She stressed the importance of regional support.
“Every nation in the region has a stake in Afghanistan’s future and a responsibility to step up and help secure it,” she said.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stressed the importance of European countries delivering on commitments.
“Of course that is not easy during times of tightening purse strings. But it is in the interest of European citizens. That is why I am making sure that the commitments made are kept,” he told reporters.
Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai told reporters that the Kabul government was fully aware of the financial pressures on countries.
“But we believe that the $4.1 bln annual funding commitment to the Afghan National Security Forces post-2014 is an investment, not only in the security of Afghanistan but also in the security of the broader region and the wider world,” he said.
“So in our view, that is an efficient, a cost-effective investment in the long-term security that the people of Afghanistan and the people of the wider region and the international community share with each other and we will count on the continued full support of the international community on those pledges,” he said.