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Tokyo conference crucial to future Afghan aid

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan will seek at least US$4 billion from international donors this weekend at a crucial aid conference aimed at propping up the country after most foreign combat troops leave at the end of 2014.

Nations that once gave liberally, however, want more guarantees that their taxpayers' money will not be lost to corruption and mismanagement.

Representatives from about 70 countries and organizations meeting Sunday in Tokyo will establish a roadmap of accountability to ensure that Afghanistan does more to improve governance and finance management, and to safeguard the democratic process, rule of law and human rights — especially those of women.

Foreign aid in the decade since the U.S. invasion in 2001 has led to better education and health care, with nearly 8 million children, including 3 million girls, enrolled in schools. That compares to 1 million children more than a decade ago, when girls were banned from school under the Taliban.

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