BONN (Agencies) A major conference Monday on Afghanistans future after NATO combat troops leave in 2014 pledged sustained support for another decade, in exchange for clear progress on good governance. Participants including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon vowed to stand by Afghanistan as it struggles to establish security and stability. Pakistan boycotted the conference as a mark of protest after Nato troops killed its 24 soldiers. This renewed partnership between Afghanistan and the international community entails firm mutual commitments in the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation, the conferences final conclusions said. The protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities. President Hamid Karzai told around 1,000 delegates gathered in the western German city of Bonn for the one-day meeting that his government needed long-term international backing. We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade after the troops pull out, he said. The meeting came 10 years after another conference here put an interim Afghan government under Karzai in place after US-led troops ousted the Taliban in the wake of the September 11 attacks. However, Pakistan and the Taliban - both seen as pivotal to any end to the bloody strife in Afghanistan a decade on - decided to stay away from Bonn, dampening already modest hopes for real progress. The events host, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, insisted there would be no rush to the exit, even as a looming global recession threatens to distract the West from the enormous challenges facing the strife-wracked nation. We send a clear message to the people of Afghanistan: we will not leave you alone, you will not be abandoned, he said, pledging help in comments echoed by Merkel in a brief address. The international conference on Afghanistan also made special note of the strain on neighbours Pakistan and Iran in dealing with refugees from the war-ravaged country. We acknowledge the burden of Afghanistans neighbours, in particular Pakistan and Iran, in providing temporary refuge to millions of Afghans in difficult ties and are committed to further work towards their voluntary, safe and orderly return, the conferences conclusions said, following a boycott of the meeting by Islamabad. Afghanistan pledged at the conference to step up fight against corruption in return for sustained international support. Afghan government institutions at all levels should increase their responsiveness to the civil and economic needs of the Afghan people and deliver key services to them, Afghanistan and its international partners said in the communique after the Bonn meeting. In this context, the protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities. The document said that, in exchange for good governance, the international community was ready to stand by Afghanistan in the 10 years after NATOs combat troops withdraw from the country in 2014. This renewed partnership between Afghanistan and the international community entails firm mutual commitments in the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation. Both sides solemnly dedicated themselves to deepening and broadening their historic partnership from Transition to the Transformation Decade of 2015-2024. The international conference pledged support after a plea by President Hamid Karzai for his war-ravaged country. Participants including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon vowed to stand by Afghanistan as it struggles to establish security and stability. Karzai told around 1,000 delegates gathered in the western German city of Bonn for the one-day meeting that his government would battle corruption and work toward national reconciliation but it needed firm international backing. We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade after the troops pull out, he said. Karzai warned that the Taliban could make a comeback and take over Afghanistan again. If we lose this fight, we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before Sept 11, 2001, Karzai said. There has been progress in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in the wake of the hijacked plane attacks on the United States, he said. But, he warned, Our shared goal of a stable, self-reliant Afghanistan is far from being achieved. Karzai said cross-border attacks should be stopped. Later talking to reporters, Karzai said he was still prepared to work with Pakistan despite its boycott of the international conference on Afghanistan and urged Islamabad to stop giving sanctuary to Taliban insurgents. Karzai told reporters Pakistan had missed a good opportunity to discuss its own issues and the future of Afghanistan by not attending the Bonn conference. But it will not stop us from cooperating together, he said. Asked what he wanted Pakistan to do to help bring peace in Afghanistan, he said: Close the sanctuaries, arrange a purposeful dialogue with those Taliban who are in Pakistan. The events host, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, insisted there would be no rush to the exit. We send a clear message to the people of Afghanistan: we will not leave you alone, you will not be abandoned, he said, pledging help in comments echoed by Merkel in a brief address. Hillary Clinton lamented the boycott by Pakistan in her speech to the conference. We regret the choice that they made because todays conference was an important milestone toward the kind of security and stability that is important for Pakistan as well as for Afghanistan, she said. The entire region has a stake in Afghanistans future and much to lose if the country again becomes a source of terrorism and instability - and that is why we would of course have benefited from Pakistans contribution to this conference, she said. We continue to believe that Pakistan has a crucial role to play, she told reporters later, adding that she was encouraged by remarks by a Pakistani government official that it will continue cooperation, including in the fight against terrorism. But foreign governments made clear they would press ahead in building up the Kabul governments ability to survive after 2014 even if Islamabad fails to bring insurgents into a settlement. The Taliban, leaders of the countrys brutal, decade-long insurgency, have also stayed away, saying the meeting will further ensnare Afghanistan into the flames of occupation. National reconciliation, along with the transition to Afghan sovereignty and international engagement after 2014, had originally topped the conferences agenda. But such hopes soured after tentative contacts collapsed and the September assassination of Karzais peace envoy, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, which was blamed on the Taliban, derailed any prospects of progress. Karzai insisted he remained open to talks. The political process will continue to be inclusive, open to Taliban and other militants who denounce violence, break ties with international terrorism, accept the Afghan constitution and defend peaceful life, he said. Embryonic contacts with the Taliban have so far yielded little, and with the government in Kabul unable to provide security and economic development, the risk is that the withdrawal of foreign troops will plunge Afghanistan back into civil war. Renewed strife might also stir more violence over the border in Pakistan, fighting militancy on its own soil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the conference that reconciliation - a term used to refer to talks among different Afghan groups as well as with insurgents - remained an important part of efforts to stabilise Afghanistan. The political process will have great importance in future, this is the place where the questions of reconciliation and power sharing must be solved in a way that includes all parts and ethnic groups of the society, she said. We can help Afghanistan in this process, we can provide our experience, but we cant solve the problem, it is only the Afghans who can do this. The road ahead will remain stony and difficult. It will require endurance and tenacity, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated that any settlement with insurgents would require them to renounce violence, sever ties with al Qaeda and respect the Afghan constitution - end conditions which some argue effectively close the door to talks by determining the outcome in advance. Irans growing confrontation with the West over its nuclear programme could also bleed into the war in Afghanistan. Iran has been accused in the past of providing low-level backing to the Taliban insurgency. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday reiterated Irans opposition to the United States keeping some forces in Afghanistan after 2014. Certain Western countries seek to extend their military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 by maintaining their military bases there. We deem such an approach to be contradictory to efforts to sustain stability and security in Afghanistan, he told the conference. Any international or regional initiative to restore peace and security in Afghanistan could only be successful if they discard the presence of foreign military forces and especially ... the founding of foreign military bases in Afghanistan. Salehi also condemned what he called the violation of human rights by foreign military forces in Afghanistan including attacks on residential areas. The foreign military presence in Afghanistan over the past 10 years had failed to uproot terrorism and had actually made the problem worse, Salehi said. Salehi also said Iran condemned what he called the violation of human rights by foreign military forces in Afghanistan including attacks on residential areas. The Indian Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna during his speech did not spare Pakistan. Addressing the conference, Krishna hit hard at Pakistan on Afghanistan future, especially after withdrawal of combat forces in 2014. Krishna said that terrorists safe havens should be eliminated outside Afghan border. He said India would fully support Afghan-led and owned peace process. We totally support the people of Afghanistan in their path of peace and condemn the act of terrorism on innocent people, Krishna said. Krishna, whose country became the first to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, pledged India would keep up its heavy investment in a country whose mineral wealth and trade routes made it a land of opportunity. Krishna today said Indian industry plans to spend over $10 billion on developing mines and building a steel plant in the war-torn nation. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the international conference the challenges ahead as Afghanistan sought to consolidate peace and development were large but the international community would not be deterred in its support for the countrys efforts. Success requires effective engagement from us all, now and for the long-term, Ban told the meeting. The Afghan people have long understood that lasting stability must grow from a political process grounded in dialogue and consensus. We must draw from the centuries-old wisdom of the Afghans and endorse the fundamental principles of national reconciliation Afghan-led and fully inclusive. The Secretary-General underscored that as Afghanistan assumes full responsibility for its security, the government and its international partners must shift and intensify their focus on the non-military aspects of transition on development, on governance and on extending effective civilian authority throughout Afghanistan. There are no easy solutions, he stated. The trust and confidence of the Afghan people will be won by fighting corruption, tackling the drug trade, sustaining the rule of law and progress on human rights, ensuring women rights, and advancing social and economic development. In a rare positive development, Clinton said the United States would resume paying into a World Bank-administered Reconstruction Trust Fund for Afghanistan, a decision that US officials said would allow for the disbursement of roughly $650 million to $700 million in suspended US aid. The United States and other big donors stopped paying into the fund in June, when the International Monetary Fund suspended its programme with Afghanistan because of concerns about Afghanistans troubled Kabul Bank. The conference is not expected to produce new aid pledges; instead, US officials say they hope it will mark a start to a process outlining future support to be pledged by mid-2012. A European diplomat said his best estimate was that Afghanistan would need about $4 billion a year to fund its army and police but it could be anywhere between 3 and 6 billion of which 1/3 would come from the Americans and the rest - 2/3 - would have to be pooled. But the bottom line is at the moment we dont have a reliable answer of exactly how much will be required.