Netherlands threatens to pull Afghan aid
Friday 13 November 2009
The Netherlands will withdraw €25m of aid to Afghanistan unless the government takes proper action against corruption, aid minister Bert Koenders said on Thursday.
The aid money is used to pay teachers and medical personnel as well as build power stations, water purification plants and provide microcredit.
President Hamid Karzai's government must take 'measurable steps' based on various international corruption indices, ministry spokeswoman Annelou van Egmond told news agency AFP.
There must be clarity about the new government's programme, Koenders said. This must include how corruption and the drugs trade are to be tackled and a proper civil service will be built up.
'The time for fine words is over,' the Telegraaf quoted foreign minister Maxime Verhagen as saying. Corruption and bad management are one reason that the Taliban is still supported by the general population in some parts of the country, he said.
The Netherlands has some 1,800 soldiers and support staff in the southern province of Uruzgan but the Dutch role in the Nato-led efforts to bring stability is due to end next August.