The world guaranteed a further $16 billion in aid to Afghanistan, fully aware that the previous $60 billion, pledged over the last decade, has largely gone unaccounted for in the maze of President Hamid Karzai’s corruption-ridden governmental machinery.

The aid to Afghanistan has largely been focused on propping up the shattered economy as well as benefiting areas that need development. This time, donor nations should watch closely for corruption and mismanagement of funds and hold the authorities accountable.

 Current aid could not have come at a more inopportune moment as the Taliban has struck once again with impunity - the brutal execution of an Afghan woman for alleged infidelity has sent shock waves in Afghan society and dealt a body blow to women’s rights in the country.

The execution of the poor, defenceless housewife will not be a good calling card for Afghan authorities as they espouse their commitment to taking the country forward by fighting corruption, improving governance, rule of law and ensuring access to economic opportunities for all, especially women.

Afghanistan is entering a crucial stage with Nato forces set to pull out. The country must stand on its feet and ensure equal opportunity for all. Stories of wealthy Afghans milking the economy at the expense of the less fortunate abound. Karzai and his cabinet have a moral duty to ensure the plug is sealed. Justice must be seen to be served. Government officials must uphold a strict moral code. External checks by donor nations must be introduced as well as monitoring by agents.  Aid must be conditional and if Afghanistan fails to meet the conditions then it must pay the price - sadly, though, it will be at the expense of its people. But for that, Karzai must be held responsible.         –Gulf News editorial