The leaders of Afghanistan and 70 nations involved in the war and aid efforts there gathered in London on Thursday. New funds were promised for Afghanistan, but crafting a withdrawal strategy was a key part of the agenda.
Some 70 nations raised $140 million Thursday as part of a focused, momentum-building effort to aid the government of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. But clear signals were also delivered that the US and its NATO allies are crafting a departure strategy and determined to transfer security responsibility to Kabul within five years.
Mr. Karzai and top officials from the US-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan were gathered in London for a conference on the future of Afghanistan. The London Conference's final communique made it clear that an eventual pullout was on almost everyone's mind.
Some $300 million to $500 million was informally agreed upon for a new “trust fund” to reconcile Taliban soldiers not linked to Al Qaeda or militant ideology; $1.6 billion in debt relief was announced, and $870 million in humanitarian aid appealed for. Delegates agreed to ongoing efforts to battle terror, train police and the Army, and align a military surge with what British Foreign Minister David Miliband called a “civilian” surge to reach Afghan hearts and minds.