Hillary Clinton puts conditions on U.S. portion of $16B Afghanistan assistance pledge
(CBS News) At a donors conference in Tokyo over the weekend, $16 billion of aid was pledged to Afghanistan. But the U.S. is putting conditions on that assistance.
Dollars and diplomacy are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's new focus for the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, as military engagement comes to an end. In Tokyo, Clinton said that Afghanistan's security has to be measured by jobs and economic opportunity. On both fronts, Afghanistan is far from success. There were more than 200 coalition force deaths in 2012 and violence is increasing. Afghanistan is only capable of generating a fraction of its financial needs - its main export is still opium. That's why much of the Tokyo conference was spent discussing how to attract private investors and cut back on corruption. Aid dollars helped educate more than eight million children and build roads and bridges; those are the success stories.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai leaves Tokyo with a total of $16 billion in aid pledges to be paid through 2015. The U.S. is still Afghanistan's top financial supporter. But Clinton says new dollars will have strings attached. She also wants private investors to put money to work in a country that still ranks as the fourth most corrupt, per Transparency International.
"That must include fighting corruption, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law, increasing access to economic opportunity for all Afghans, especially for women," Clinton said.
American dollars will continue to flow into Afghanistan, even as the last U.S. troops roll out in 2015. The worry is that all that dependence on aid has left Afghanistan too vulnerable to stand strong on its own.
For Margaret Brennan's full report, watch the video in the player above.
- Margaret Brennan
Principally assigned to the State Department, Margaret Brennan also serves as a CBS News general assignment correspondent based in Washington, D.C.
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