File photo of an Afghan girl at a refugee camp outside of Kabul. One of Sweden's new priorities with aid to Afghanistan is gender equality. Photo: Reza Shirmohammadi / Scanpix.

Sweden to boost Afghan aid after NATO leaves

The Swedish government announced Thursday that it will raise its development aid to Afghanistan after Swedish forces, along with the other NATO-led combat troops, leave next year.

Currently, Sweden contributes about SEK 600 million per year to Afghanistan in assistance. When the new money kicks in, that will jump to about 850 million a year from 2015 to 2019.

Since 2012, Swedish aid money has been intended to focus on education, democracy, human rights and gender equality, according to the press release. New priorities include "employment, economic integration and the development of the private sector and rural areas."

However, concerns about corruption in Afghanistan, as well as the government's failure to implement reforms have given pause to Sweden's Nordic neighbor, Norway, which threatened to cut its aid to Kabul earlier this summer, according to AFP.

While Sweden is not a member of NATO, it has about 400 troops stationed in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF mission, led by NATO.

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