London, 28 January 2010- His Highness the Aga Khan today attended "Afghanistan: The London Conference", a one-day conference on Afghanistan, co-hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, President Karzai and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The conference is being attended by Foreign Ministers and delegations from over 65 nations, as well as representatives from NATO, the United Nations, the EU and other international organisations such as the World Bank.
The Aga Khan Development Network began working in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, providing food aid and a range of livelihood and support services to Afghan refugees who had fled their homes as a result of on-going conflict. At the January 2002 Tokyo Conference, which initiated the formal Afghan reconstruction process, His Highness the Aga Khan made a pledge of US$ 75 million to support international reconstruction efforts. This pledge marked the transition of AKDN's intervention in Afghanistan from humanitarian relief to comprehensive development, and the beginning of a formal partnership between AKDN and the Afghan government.
Eight years later, AKDN's assistance to Afghanistan has exceeded His Highness' original pledge by more than 80 percent. Through formal partnerships with the Afghan government, significant joint investments into Afghan companies, and national and regional development programmes in partnership with other international actors and donors, AKDN has channelled more than $700 million toward Afghanistan's economic, social, and cultural reconstruction. In June 2008, His Highness the Aga Khan pledged an additional $100 million for the period 2008-2012.