AFGHAN President Hamid Karzai is seeking $US50 billion to rebuild his country at an international aid conference expected to raise more than $US15 billion to launch his campaign.
The United States has already said it will donate more than 10 billion dollars, while Australia will commit a further $250 million to support Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.
Australia has already contributed $450 million in assistance between 2001 and 2007.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said the $250 million pledge, which he described as a significant contribution for Australia and Australians to make, would be used to fund a number of capacity-building projects.
But Australia will not be sending any more troops to the strife-torn nation, Mr Smith said.
Karzai is seeking support for a 50-billion-dollar development plan over the next five years to counter widespread poverty and a Taliban insurgency.
"What brings us together today is a concern for the destiny of a nation that has emerged from a dark past,'' Karzai told donors from more than 80 countries and international institutions.
Announcing a 10.2 billion dollar contribution, US First Lady Laura Bush said "Afghanistan has reached a decisive moment for its future. We must not turn our backs on this opportunity.''
President Nicolas Sarkozy announced French financial aid would be "more than doubled'' with priority given to agriculture and health. He gave no figure but aides said it would total 107 million euros (165 million dollars) over the next two years.
More than six years after US-led forces ousted the Taliban, Afghanistan remains mired in poverty and its people lack many basics while the extremist militia has pushed on with its insurgency in the south.
Some 47,000 troops from a NATO-led force are fighting the Taliban alongside 20,000 US troops. The violence has left 8,000 people dead in 2007 alone including 1,500 civilians, according to UN figures.
Listing progress in building roads and clinics, fighting opium production and setting up a functioning government, Karzai nevertheless ackowledged: "There is a long way still ahead of us.''
With a development plan on the table, Afghanistan needs "adequate, long term and predictable support,'' said Karzai.
Karzai's ambitious blueprint focuses first on infrastructure, with plans to build roads, dams and power plants, but building up the army and security forces is also a priority along with developing agriculture.
US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said on the eve of the conference that Washington's contribution was a "strong sign of how committed the United States is not just to the security of the Afghan people but to their prosperity and to the functioning of their government.''
US officials said they expected 15 billion dollars (9.7 billion euros) to be raised, but European and UN diplomats stressed the conference must also tackle the more sensitive issue of how the funds are spent.
"I hope this conference will first of all provide an opportunity to reflect on our strategy,'' Sarkozy said.
Relief organisations have complained that too much international aid is spent on security while development projects vital to fight poverty and strengthen the state are neglected.
Karzai also is facing questions over his apparent inability to deal with corruption and opium production, seen as prolonging the Taliban insurgency.
A report by an umbrella group of aid organisations warned in March that only 15 billion out of the 25 billion dollars promised in donations since the 2001 fall of the Taliban had been released.
Forty percent of that amount returned to donor nations to cover consultant fees and projects carried out by various private contractors, according to the report by ACBAR, the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief.
US-based Human Rights Watch said donor countries must make aid conditional on progress in human rights, with particular attention given to Afghan women and girls who continue to rank among the world's worst-off.
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