World Bulletin/News Desk
Donor fatigue and war weariness have taken their toll on how long the global community is willing to support Afghanistan and there are concerns about security following the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014 if financial backing is not secured.
"Afghanistan's security cannot only be measured by the absence of war," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an international donors' conference in Tokyo.
"It has to be measured by whether people have jobs and economic opportunity, whether they believe their government is serving their needs, whether political reconciliation proceeds and succeeds."
The Afghan central bank has estimated that at least $6 billion a year in new investment from foreign donors will be needed to foster economic growth over the next decade.
Clinton also stressed the importance of Afghanistan - one of the most corrupt nations in the world - of taking aggressive action to fight graft and promote reforms.
President Hamid Karzai admits his government needs to do more to tackle corruption, but his critics say he is not doing enough, and some directly blame authorities for vast amounts of aid not reaching the right people.
"We have agreed that we need a different kind of long-term economic partnership, one built on Afghan progress in meeting its goals, in fighting corruption, in carrying out reform, and providing good governance," Clinton said.
U.S. officials provided no monetary figure for their expected aid, but said the administration would ask Congress to keep assistance levels stable through 2017 compared with the assistance Washington has offered over the past decade.
Japan pledged $3 billion in aid for Afghanistan through 2016. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said $2.2 billion of that amount would be grants for development projects in areas like investment in roads and infrastructure.
The EU has said it will continue with pledges of 1.2 billion euros a year, but warned that if progress is not made with rule of law and women's rights, this could be difficult to continue.
The pledges made in Tokyo are on top of the $4.1 billion by NATO and its partners for supporting the Afghan security forces.
Representatives from about 80 countries and international aid organisations, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, were gathered in Tokyo to discuss aid for Afghanistan beyond 2014.
International donors provided $35 billion in aid to Afghanistan between 2001 and 2010, but the return on that development aid has been mixed.
Per capita economic output increased five-fold over the same period, but Afghanistan remains one of the five poorest nations.
Major strides have been made in schooling children and improving access to health care, but three-quarters of the 30 million Afghans are illiterate and the average person earns only about $530 a year, according to the World Bank.
The government has identified several priority areas for economic development, including investment in agriculture and mining, which Western officials see as a possible engine for future growth. Afghanistan is believed to have up to a trillion dollars' worth of untapped mineral wealth.
Another focus has been on improvements to road and rail lines to tie the emerging Afghan economy more closely with the region. Japan's Gemba said Tokyo would invest another $1 billion on projects in countries neighbouring Afghanistan to promote those efforts.
The Israeli military said that a Gaza ceasefire that went into effect earlier on Friday is now over and military operations were in progress on the ground just after tanks opened fire in the southern Gaza Strip killing 40
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, said Iran repudiates any act of extremism and violence, after Chinese authorities said a police station and a township in Yarkand (Shache County).
The announcement comes after Israel bombed Gaza's only power plant, forcing a continued power outage across the embattled Gaza Strip.
Warring neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan see heightened tensions amid a border dispute.
Nicolay Koblyakov was held for 72 hours after being detained at Sofia airport on Tuesday following an extradition request from Russia
Dr. Mordechai Kedar said the only thing that can deter Palestinian fighters was if they knew their mothers and sisters would be raped.
Holder will argue that two people who commit the same crime should not serve unequal time based on those factors alone.
Japan's already fragile ties with China have soured over their competing claims to a string of uninhabited East China Sea islets
The plaintiffs, all immigrants who are either practicing Muslims or are from predominantly Muslim nations, complain their immigration or naturalization petitions were illegally thwarted
John Tefft will go to Moscow as U.S.-Russia ties are severely strained over Washington's sanctions on Russia due to its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Military officials said a paratrooper unit had come under mortar and tank fire near the town of Shakhtarsk
Thousands flocked to beaches to celebrate Eid al-Fitr despite meteorological warnings.
The requested military supplies include tanks, sniper equipment, armored personnel carriers, artillery and ammunition, and also body armor, helmets, fuel trucks and ambulances.
Kenya's President Kenyatta said they would discuss the funding issue with American investors on the sidelines of the US-African leaders summit next week.
Over 13 lives were lost and properties were also destroyed.
"Gen. Haftar has not left Libya and is currently preparing for a major military operation in Benghazi," his spokesman Mohamed al-Hegazi said.