World donors respond to Afghanistan's call for billions in aid

Afghan President Hamid Karzai appealed Thursday to world donors for massive, long-term aid for police, road-building and agriculture to make his country a safer and less hungry place. He also pledged to fight the pervasive corruption that has hobbled aid efforts since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban and frustrated donors. "Afghanistan needs large amounts of aid, but precisely how aid is spent is just as important," Karzai told a gathering of some 80 rich countries and donor organizations in Paris. The Afghan government is hoping to secure $15 billion to US$20 billion at the conference. The United States set the stage - and upped the pressure on other donors - with $10 billion in pledges announced Wednesday night.