More than 80 nations and international aid groups are in Paris, discussing the re-building of Afghanistan seven years after the US-led invasion ended the Taliban’s rule. The Afghan President Hamid Karzai is presenting an ambitious plan, asking for more than 30 billion euros over the next five years. Washington has already announced aid worth some six billion euros for this year and next. But, critical delegates will also urge Afghans to help themselves, above all in the fight against endemic corruption.
The money will pay for a number of projects, including training and support for the army, as Afghanistan tries to take more responsibility for its own security. Education is high on the list, with donors convinced that Afghanistan’s young people are its greatest asset. And farmers will be encouraged to abandon opium poppies, which for years have been Afghanistan’s only profitable crop.