The Afghanistan Aid Conference finally yielded $ 12 billion (about € 10 billion) in aid pledges for the next four years.

At the end of the meeting, Minister of Development Cooperation Ville Skinnari (sd) in Geneva on Tuesday.

Finland is co-hosting the meeting with Afghanistan and the UN.

As expected, the total amount of promises was lower than at the previous meeting four years ago in the midst of the economic difficulties caused by the pandemic.

By 2021, aid pledges will be $ 3 billion, but donors promise to keep the level unchanged if the conditions for aid, such as good governance and respect for human rights, are met.

It will be reviewed annually.

The Geneva meeting also adopted a unanimous political declaration calling for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan.

The violent reality on the ground was reminded during the conference when at least 14 people were reported dead in two bombings in the city of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green), who also co-chaired the meeting, sent a message to the ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha.

- Lasting peace requires compromises from everyone, he reminded.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also called for an immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan.

According to Ghana, the government’s line remains unchanged despite the increase in violence.

- We are firmly committed to negotiations with the Taliban, he said.

US withdrawal intentions are worrying

The conditionality of aid was raised in a number of speeches, including when Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen (SD) said that the EU was ready to continue to assist Afghanistan at the same level.

- EU support will be maintained or reviewed depending on the Afghan government's commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality, Urpilainen recalled in a video message.

Due to the corona pandemic, the Geneva meeting was largely virtual.

In addition to the violence and precarious peace talks, the aides have raised concerns about the U.S. intention to withdraw about half of the American troops there in less than two months.

The unilateral announcement by President Donald Trump's administration is due to be made just days before Joe Biden takes office.

The withdrawal is expected to have a significant impact on the NATO-led training operation, in which Finland is also involved.