Kabul: Afghan president Hamid Karzai opened an international donors conference on Tuesday which, amongst others things, will also look at delivering billions in development aid directly to the Afghan government. Attended by nearly 70 international representatives the conference will also look at enhancing the capacity of the Afghan security forces, political reform, reconciliation with Taliban militants and improving governance.
The conference is also likely to set the pace for geo-political manoeuvrings in the Indian sub-continent region.
Inaugurating the conference Afghan president Hamid Karzai said he was determined to have Afghan forces in charge of the country's security by 2014. He also urged international participants to allow the Afghan government to have more control of aid money due to flow into the country. He observed that the international community had committed enough money to see Afghanistan through the next three years.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said in her address that the United States was encouraged by work the Afghan government had done to improve governance and combat corruption, but much work still remained.
Touching on a sore issue she clarified that the United States would continue to assist Afghanistan well beyond the Obama administration's July 2011 target for beginning to withdraw US forces. The July 2011 deadline she said would only signal a ''new phase'' and not mark the start of a unilateral withdrawal.
She said though the Afghan government had developed a plan aimed at re-integrating Taliban fighters who agreed to lay down their weapons, renounce al-Qaida and accept Afghanistan's constitution, progress, however, would depend on the insurgents complying with the conditions.