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Swiss pledge CHF104 million in development aid for Afghanistan

Swiss foreign minister Ignazio Cassis, left, and Afghan finance minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal. Keystone / Valentin Flauraud

At an international conference in Geneva to source funding for Afghanistan, Switzerland has renewed its annual CHF26 million ($28.48 million) pledge for another four years.

The Swiss contribution, which will amount to CHF104 million up to 2024, is earmarked for projects to promote the rule of law, agriculture, and education, the foreign ministry wrote.

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who opened the conference, said that it was a “critical year” for Afghanistan, where violence between Taliban fighters and government forces continue, and peace talks are currently showing little progress.

Cassis nevertheless said that aid was not unconditional. He expected a “clear development plan” with realistic goals from the government in Kabul, and that funding should be made available to the entire Afghan population.

The European Union (EU) also made such commitments clear, saying that the country – which relies on foreign money for three-quarters of its spending – must preserve democratic and human rights gains made since 2001, especially regarding women and children’s rights.

The EU, the United Kingdom, the US, and Germany, among others, also made significant contributions on Tuesday, with the overall amount pledged coming to some CHF10.95 billion – down from the CHF13.87 billion pledged at the last conference in Brussels in 2016.

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