Donors to pledge $16bn for Afghanistan

Donors at a major development conference for Afghanistan will pledge total aid of more than $16 billion for four years to 2015, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said on Saturday.

Japan, which will co-chair the one-day conference on Sunday with Afghanistan, will provide up to $3 billion for the five years to 2016, in addition to $1 billion for the war-torn nation's neighbouring states, he said.

The total pledge of more than $16 billion will include part of the aid to be declared by Japan, he said.

"This scale of pledge will satisfy the fiscal gap that the World Bank and the Afghan government have said would be needed for the development of the country," he said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who will be in Tokyo along with officials including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, has called for $4 billion a year in civilian aid for Afghanistan.

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