International donors on Sunday pledged $16 billion in badly needed development aid for Afghanistan over the next four years, when most foreign troops will leave, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged the international community not to abandon his country.

The major donors’ conference, attended by about 70 countries and organisations, is aimed at setting aid levels for the crucial period through and beyond 2014, when most NATO-led foreign troops will leave and the war-torn country will assume responsibility for most of its own security.

“I request Afghanistan’s friends and partners to reassure the Afghan people that you will be with us,” Mr. Karzai said.

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