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US pushes allies to make good on Afghan pledges

BRUSSELS — The Obama administration pressed its allies on Wednesday to follow through on their pledges to Afghanistan’s security after most international troops withdraw in 2014, fearful of being left with the check in an era of austerity budgets and cutbacks.

At a summit in May, donors pledged $4.1 billion a year to support Afghan forces from 2015 to 2017, firming up a key plank of the US strategy to leave behind a secure Afghanistan. But many governments have yet to come up with the cash.

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Speaking at NATO headquarters, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told allies it is ‘‘crucial for every nation to follow through on their commitments, and for those who haven’t yet committed any funding to do so.’’ To make her point, she invoked Afghanistan’s troubled history of chasing out the Soviet Union in the 1980s only to descend into civil war and the oppression of an extremist Taliban government.

‘‘All of us here have an interest in ensuring this region does not once again become a safe haven for international terrorists,’’ she said. ‘‘We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of 1989 and disengage. That’s why we made an enduring commitment, and it’s why we have to follow through on it today, tomorrow, and for years to come.’’

For the United States, supporting Afghanistan’s army of about 230,000 men is also an issue of economics. Hoping to map the way out of an unpopular war, the United States and NATO brought in dozens of other countries earlier this year to build as broad a funding base as possible for Afghanistan’s army. The argument was straightforward: Even $4 billion a year to prop up the Afghan military is far cheaper than maintaining a foreign army in the country.

Together, the United States and other governments promised to come up with the bulk of the money. But having repeatedly guaranteed the government of President Hamid Karzai that his country will not be abandoned, Washington does not want to be left covering even more because of unfulfilled pledges.

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