Friday, April 02, 2004

HOPELESS: International donors pledged around 8.2 billion for the next three years. For those confused, that's 4.5 billion for this year (2004) with 4.4 billion in the years of 2005 and 2006. The big donors, as expected, were the United States, Germany and Japan. Many thanks to the governments of these countries.

If I'm correct, about $2.3 billion was pledged by the United States (on top of the $1.2 billion it's spending this year), $400 million by Japan, $390 by Germany and $1 billion by the Asian Development Bank. Congress can appropriate even more money in the coming fiscal years (2006 and 2007).

But... what about the European Union? The Saudis? The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler reports on a truly pathetic scene inside Berlin's Intercontinentel Hotel.

Persian Gulf states did not offer funds, which U.S. officials said was a disappointment. ... U.N. officials struggled to reach a goal of winning $80 million in commitments here to help procure equipment in time for presidential and parliamentary elections set for September. The United States offered about $20 million, and later increased its contribution by $5 million if more donations were made. The United Nations ultimately decided to scale back its request to $65 million, and that target was reached, a senior State Department official said. ... A January 2002 reconstruction conference in Tokyo raised about $4.5 billion, but according to Afghan figures little of that money has reached the country. About $2 billion has been placed in bank accounts for disbursement, with about $1.8 billion committed to projects that have been started, though not much of that has been spent yet in the country.
Some would call this "slow but monumental progress. I call this an example of how weak, dismal and useless most European countries and countries like Saudia Arabia (which, by the way, has a fondness for funding destruction instead of reconstruction) are when it comes to aiding a war-plagued people. The United States is doing the heavy lifting--again. We ought to get used to this; we should also be thankful. Without the United States, Germany and Japan, Afghanistan wouldn't be teetering on the brink of chaos; it would be in a treacherous state of chaos.

UPDATE: The European Commission has plegded 774 million dollar, while Great Britain pledged 569 million. I'm still not satisfied. The Europeans have a bigger population and a bigger GDP than the United States. The Europeans should be pledging more than the United States!

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