Afghanistan pledges at Bonn conference to fight corruption

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Afghanistan pledged at a major conference in Germany on Monday to step up the fight against corruption in return for sustained international support.

"Afghan government institutions at all levels should increase their responsiveness to the civil and economic needs of the Afghan people and deliver key services to them," Afghanistan and its international partners said in a communique after the Bonn meeting.

"In this context, the protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities."

The document said that, in exchange for good governance, the international community was ready to stand by Afghanistan in the 10 years after NATO's combat troops withdraw from the country in 2014.

"This renewed partnership between Afghanistan and the international community entails firm mutual commitments in the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation."

Both sides "solemnly dedicated themselves to deepening and broadening their historic partnership from Transition to the Transformation Decade of 2015-2024".

The one-day conference, which brought together 1,000 delegates from around the world, made special note of the strain on neighbours Pakistan and Iran in dealing with refugees from the war-ravaged country.

"We acknowledge the burden of Afghanistan's neighbours, in particular Pakistan and Iran, in providing temporary refuge to millions of Afghans in difficult times and are committed to further work towards their voluntary, safe and orderly return," the conference's conclusions said.

Islamabad had boycotted the conference over a NATO air strike late last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, raising fears that the Bonn meeting would make little headway on issues crucial to Afghanistan.

© 2011 AFP

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