The United Nations' top envoy to Afghanistan today hailed the success of this week's international conference on the country, which closed with donors pledging to give $8.2 billion over the next three years for the reconstruction effort.
Jean Arnault, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, described the two-day meeting in Berlin as very encouraging.
In a final declaration adopted by the forum, donors pledged contributions totalling $8.2 billion, with $4.4 billion set aside for the first year.
Mr. Arnault said there had been a candid assessment of what achievements had been made since a previous international conference on Afghanistan, held in Bonn in late 2001, mapped out a framework for the country's short-to-medium-term future, shortly after the United States ousted the Taliban in its war on terror.
Afghanistan's outstanding challenges were also raised and discussed this week, he said, especially the problems caused by factionalism and the illicit drug industry.
Mr. Arnault said the Berlin conference showed the Afghan leadership that it had the full backing of the international community during its difficult transition to a functioning, stable democracy. National presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for September.