Minister threatens to withdraw aid from Afghanistan

13th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

President Hamid Karzai's new government must take measure steps against corruption or risk losing the EUR 25 million aid funding given by the Netherlands, says Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders.

The Hague – The Netherlands threatened Thursday to withdraw EUR 25 million of Afghan reconstruction aid in 2010 if President Hamid Karzai's new government does not act against corruption.

Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders told parliament that Karzai's government "has to take measurable steps against corruption" to qualify for the money, ministry spokeswoman Annelou van Egmond told AFP.

The aid money, voted on annually by the Dutch parliament, is used to pay the salaries of teachers and medical personnel, and for projects providing electricity infrastructure, drinking water and micro-credits, she said.

Various international corruption indices would be used to measure progress, said Van Egmond.

Karzai is to be sworn in on 19 November for another five years in power under the scrutiny of foreign leaders who are stepping up pressure on him to act against graft.

Billions of dollars in international assistance have poured into Afghanistan since a US-led force ousted the Taliban regime in 2001.

The Washington Post and New York Times earlier reported that classified cables from US ambassador Karl Eikenberry detail strong reservations against sending troop reinforcements until Karzai's government shows it can tackle widespread corruption.

About 2,000 Dutch soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan, mostly in the southern Uruzgan province, as part of a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

AFP / Expatica

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