While global governance is today weakened, the international community has shown that it knows how to stand up when it comes to holding Afghanistan at arm’s length. If the United States is accelerating its disengagement from the country, the so-called Donors’ Conference, which met on November 23 and 24 by videoconference in Geneva (Switzerland), around 70 countries and around thirty international organizations, brought together 12 billion dollars (10.1 billion euros) in aid for a four-year plan (2021-2024). Real resilience. Because it is nineteen years since the Taliban were defeated and they are now, again, at the gates of power. And the inter-Afghan dialogue opened in Doha on September 12, which promised the return of peace, has stalled.
This meeting, the fourth of its kind, was vital to the survival of a battered country, unable to provide for its needs. In 2020, according to the World Bank, 75% of the country’s civilian spending and 90% of its security funding depends on foreign donors. In addition, in 2016, 13.6 billion euros were collected for a period ending at the end of 2020.
Beyond that, the Afghan state was threatened with collapse. However, until October, donors in Kabul and the UN were still wondering about the advisability of such a rally as the Taliban gain ground militarily and impose their law on the Afghan government during the talks. The risk is to write a blank check to the insurgents and deprive themselves of an asset to push them to compromise.
Conditioned on respect for democracy
The UN said on Tuesday to be “Fully aware of the difficult choices to be made” and of “Uncertainty” that the Doha talks weigh on this support. But the UN representative in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, warned: “Afghanistan must progress, not go backwards (…), the peace process must take into account women, youth, different ethnicities, religions and minorities. “ And, no doubt in allusion to Donald Trump’s decision on November 17 to precipitate the military withdrawal of the United States, she added: “Now is not the time to turn on your heels. “
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, conditioned aid on respect for democracy, the rule of law and gender equality. “The Taliban must give more pledges for peace (…), any attempt to restore an Islamic emirate would have an impact on our political and financial support. “ Finally, he called for an immediate end to the violence. The EU has pledged 1.2 billion euros, the same amount as in 2016, despite the health and economic crisis linked to the coronavirus.
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