Afghanistan to appeal to West not to abandon it like Soviets did in 1980s

Kabul, Nov.29 (ANI): When the German city of Bonn hosts the international conference on Afghanistan's future in the first week of December, officials from Kabul are expected to appeal to the West not to abandon the country like the Soviet Union did in the 1980s.

As the U.S.-led military coalition prepares to withdraw most combat troops by the end of 2014, Afghan officials fear that, amid world-wide economic troubles, history will repeat itself.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Afghan officials say the Bonn conference, which will be attended by nearly a hundred nations, must reaffirm the world's long-term financial commitment to their country to ensure that the fragile Afghan institutions that have been built over the past decade don't collapse.

"There is a need within Afghanistan, within the region and beyond to send a message of continuity and enduring engagement," said Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin, who is playing a key role in negotiations with the U.S. and allies.

Ludin added: "2014 should not become 1989. That would be the strongest political message we expect to come out of Bonn."

In the years after 2014, the Afghan government would still need at least 10 billion dollars annually from foreign donors, Ludin calculated, with some six billion dollars of that going to pay for the Afghan army and police, slated to number 352,000 men by next November.

Currently, Afghanistan gets 15.7 billion dollars in foreign aid a year, roughly equal to its nominal gross domestic product.

Only a small share of this money is spent through the Afghan government.

A World Bank study released this month warned that Afghanistan will face an "unmanageable" fiscal gap over the next decade if it has to finance its own security forces.

The study predicted that, by 2022, the country would still require 7.2 billion dollars in foreign aid a year.

However, the Bonn conference isn't expected to bring immediate financial commitments to Afghanistan.

The participating nations are expected to make political promises to stand by Afghanistan, Western officials say. (ANI)