March 17th, 2010
03:52 PM ET

More than $1B in Afghanistan debt cancelled

PARIS, France - Rich countries are canceling more than $1 billion in debt that Afghanistan owes them, the Paris Club of creditor nations announced Wednesday.

The debt relief comes partly in response to Afghanistan's participating in program for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, the Paris Club said in a statement. Some $441 million is being canceled as part of the HIPC Initiative, while creditors are voluntarily writing off another $585 million, the group said.

Afghanistan agreed in exchange to use the money it would have spent on paying its debts on programs in line with the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction.

The creditors said that they "welcomed the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's determination to implement a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy and an ambitious economic program providing the basis for sustainable economic growth in the context of a difficult global economic environment."

Afghanistan's total external public debt was estimated at $2.1 billion in March 2009, the Paris Club said. About half of that was owed to Paris Club members.

The Paris Club is an informal group of creditor governments from major industrialized countries that meets monthly in Paris with debtor nations to agree with them on restructuring their debts.

Filed under: Daily Developments
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Charlie Wilson

    At least 500 Million plus of this 1 Billion is our money. The US was never paid back when "we" channelled money through Israel and Pakistan to "aid" the afghan's fight against The Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. Remember, we gave all sorts of "aid" to Bin Laden and his buddies. What we failed to do, was continue giving them "aid" so they could build roads, schools, etc.... They didn't have the infrastructure to build or develop any type of plan for the future. Once the Soviets packed up and walked across Friendship bridge, we cut the funding and turned our back... So really, we are in the mess we are today with Afghanistan and Iraq b/c this time, things are trying to be done right. As a matter of fact, if we had continued aid and helped the Afghans develop a plan for their future, everybody would have gotten paid back.....

    March 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Hood

      Rich countries are canceling more than $1 billion in debt that Afghanistan owes them, the Paris Club of creditor nations announced Wednesday.

      January 6, 2011 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. George D

    Greece and Iceland can learn from this. Harbor some terrorists and pretty soon the whole world will forgive your debts. Great idea, hah?

    March 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Randy Sexton

    How much of this that was forgiven was U.S. tax payer dollars?

    March 23, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cody B

    Do any countries want to cancel any of our debt? LOL!!!

    March 23, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. JOe

    Couldn't they just have put it on mastercard?

    March 23, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Templar

    The debt to Afghanistan was funded by the IMF. The "rich” countries are put down as guarantors for the money. Although the debt has been canceled to Afghanistan , the "rich" countries still owe that money to the IMF. Can't pay it? Don't worry, the IMF will sent advisors to sit in the "rich" governments to advise/tell them what to do with all economic decisions. Democracy, aint it grand.

    March 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Caleb

    Truth is a three edged sword. Learn to see both sides, Only then will the truth reveal itself.

    March 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jay

    "We?" Define the we that is slaughtering people like cattle? Need therepy, Daniel?

    March 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cameron

    I'm sorry, but does the article say anywhere that the USA is one of the creditor nations? Or that we're one of the nations that cancelled the debt? NO – so why make the assumption?

    March 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. arnold

    All you guys are thinking oh poor americans we have to pay more taxes... well at least you have food and fresh water on your tables you have roof over your head and you not living in fear that someone will kill you if you dont do what they tell you to do. I've lived in poor country where we waited for weeks to get some fresh water so we can drink and on the day that we did we would feel up a bath tub with water so we can boil it and drink it.. it had to last us for a few weeks just to survive. Put yourself in that position where people of afganistan are... they didnt ask for us to come and demolish there country. it was mr bush that decided to chase a gost (bin ladin). Stop your bitching and help others that are less fortunate... it shames me to be called an american when all i hear is bitching about taxes and this and that.... till you walk a mile in there shoes dont even talk dont even open your mouth and say anything that you dont understand......

    March 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Scott

    I am glad we are one of the rich ones....

    March 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AJ

    What's Good for the Goose, should be Good for the Gander!
    Cancel the US Debt as a Fresh Start for American's, and in return moneys are put back into the system, creating Jobs and Revenue!

    March 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kambiz

    I am very pleased to see other countries are helping Afghanistan. For some Americans that think this comes out of their TAX, is completely ignorance. How is this coming out of your TAX when Paris writes off $485 mill? Take it easy, America is spending money on war, not loaning to Afghanistan. Although they need to take all the Afghanistan debt, since they left Afghanistan during the COLD war in the middle of the war which indeed cost us Millions of Lives, Billions of Damages in Property and debts. Thanks to the world for Helping our poor country which was destroyed by the foreigner politics and interest.


    March 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    so, does that mean the United States quailifys for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries? Why would anyone ever cancel debt owed to them? What was the intrest rate?

    March 22, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    How stupid do they think we are? The "loans" were never meant to be repayed in the first place. Politicians play this game all the time. We "loan" countries money, tell them how they have to spend it, and then down the road we "forgive" the loan. It was never expected to be payed. This is just another scam on the taxpayers. It's wealth transfer from the tax payers to the politically connected corporations (Haliburton, Blackwater, GE, and all the other war profiteers).

    But hey, the average American knows more about their favorite football team than the voting record of their elected officials. Most Americans don't even know what form of government the United States is. Go ahead – ask the average person on the street. 99% of them will say a democracy. Wrong!

    People get the government they deserve. I hate to see what kind of government we're going to end up with. I feel sorry for future generations. We've turned our back on the people that sacraficed so much to break away from the tyrrany of all powerful government. We have allowed the bankers and politicians to scare everyone into giving up their rights and liberties. It will soon become apparent what fate awaits us. I believe Thomas Jefferson tried to warning us. A central bank is more dangerous than a standing army. And just as he predicted, our grandchildren will wake up homeless on the continent that our forefathers conquered.

    Shame on us.

    March 22, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  16. Aman

    "Imagine the STIMULUS to our country if everyone's mortgage was instantly paid off....think about how much money everyone would have to do whatever they wanted (buy a new car, start a new business, take a vacation, pay off medical bills, help their children with college or buy a home....ect.)"

    Do you realise how worthless the currency would become and how inflation would zoom up if that became true ?

    Understand economics before you make such comments.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  17. Abbas

    This news is just to make you guys fool. Do you really think they will just let it go?
    Letting $1B go and capture $1T of oil instead + kill 50000 Civilians + Loot the country + Rape and burn children, and many more things.

    Open your eyes and see the world.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  18. Dr. X

    Now they can cancel the debt I owe the ITS.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  19. KD

    I always get upset when I hear about debts to other countries being cancelled. Why not defer payment of the debts, with no additional interest, for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years? One billion dollars will still be a significant amount of money in those time frames. This debt is owed to the PEOPLE of the United States. What back room deals are being made for cancelling this debt and who is profiting from this action?

    March 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. pinkfloyd

    Right give em more money that they will steal! The country is currupt to the hightest levels

    March 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  21. pv2 John

    Forvgiving debt...US is already heavy at debt and going through a war that has no purpose. Taxes are already killing tons of jobs back in the states and around the world. I dont see much effort here in Afghanistan considering everyone still lives in mud houses and barely ANY medical care as it is. This is the POOREST country in the World.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  22. brown

    Why all the hate and discontent about forgiving debt? I see many
    entries complaining about the poor economic shape America is in ... why?

    It didn't seem to bother you enough to get off your fat arses when your Senators
    were up for re-election or during the Presidential election. Stop whining America, this mess is of your making.

    Don't worry, our condition could be worse! Keep siting on the sidelines during elections and you'll get to see just how bad things can really become.

    America has the Congress it so richly deserves! Stop whining and go back to
    your television sitcoms!

    March 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Scott

    Lovely, now they can spend more money on their corrupt government dealings at 'Rich Countries' expense.

    March 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Retired LE

    You got it right on the money AGuest9. We taxpayers will take it in the shorts AGAIN.

    But hey, I am sure Iraq will give us a great deal on oil once they get back on their feet. You know, as partial compensation for all the coalition blood that has been spilled and lives lost giving them back their freedom....

    March 20, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  25. WowSomePeople

    Wasn't some of our debt forgiven after the Revolutionary War? You people need to get over yourselves and get down off the cross.

    March 20, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  26. what to do.

    i say we take our national debt and have a lottery for every guy on death row. whoever wins the lottery gets the bill for the national debt.. every penny for him to pay back. thats the fast track to getting out from under this debt of ours. if he dies before paying off the debt... too bad so sad. the key point after that lottery is to not go back into debt again.

    March 20, 2010 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  27. Me

    Suck it up, not all of this comes from the US. 1 Billion can do much more good in a country like Afghanistan than spent here.

    If people in the U.S. really cared about debt, they wouldn't take loans for mortgages, buy cars, etc... whereas people in Afghanistan borrow money for survival.

    March 20, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  28. RFH

    [omg wrote:]
    > Cancel their debt to us of $1B, No way. Take it in oil [...]

    The only export of Afghanistan is opium and radical fanatics. We want neither.

    March 19, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Andrew Baker

    Unfreaking real.With all the problems at home they are just giving it away.Good thing its going to something good....I'm sure none of it will be going in anybodys pocket....that never happens.

    March 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  30. hwath1977

    Hmm from what I've heard, american debts are waaay over the hill, so why are you guys giving away money to people?

    March 19, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Brently

    Sounds like some of you need to enlist in the military so you can see how much Afghanistan is suffering. If the Afghan's put the money to create some jobs...then thats less people joining the taliban shooting at me and corrupting the minds of the teenage boys they kidnapp.

    March 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  32. AGuest9

    Who will be forgiving OUR debt? Japan? No. China? Yeah, right....

    March 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  33. ForTruth

    The solution is real simple....stop charging is the interest on the debt that is causing the finacial collapse of countries.

    Many countries have paid back their loans several times over....but it doesn't matter b/c the banks want their INTEREST....this is nothing more than GREED.

    To those that follow the scriptures it plainly teaches that one is not to charge usury/interest when giving a loan.

    Amazing how this so called 'christian' nation has been complicit in charging interest ....and looks down on muslim countries who forbid charging interest.

    Like I said earlier, it is time for a JUBILEE....a canceling of debts for EVERYONE in every nation.

    Imagine the STIMULUS to our country if everyone's mortgage was instantly paid off....think about how much money everyone would have to do whatever they wanted (buy a new car, start a new business, take a vacation, pay off medical bills, help their children with college or buy a home....ect.)

    But no....that makes TOO much sense......

    March 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  34. omg

    I am totally against this. Cancell their debt to us of $1B, No way. Take it in oil and lower the what the consumers in the US have to spend then they can afford their healthcare. How stupid this is. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!

    March 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  35. hampster

    Is that the one billion Karzai has stashed incase Afghanistan falls to the Taliban and Al Quada? Hope Karzai is ready for a quick stage left exit from Afghanistan.

    March 19, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Sleuth51

    "Since these right-wing fanatics in Washington deem Afghanistan more important than the poor people here in America with their lack of health care in particular,why not?

    Posted by: Daniel"

    Not "right-wing fanatics." Rather war mongers. Unfortunately, having promised us change, Obama joined the war mongers, undoubtedly pushed by the Clintons and other neo-cons. Bush, Cheney, McCain, Romney, Clintons, Obama and a whole host in Congress (including right-wing fanatics) who continue to support occupation and invasion. Occupation fuels insurgency – Kuchinich.

    March 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Sleuth51

    Phillip: "Afghanistan is in horrible shape, people are dying in war and starvation and all you guys worry about is how you will afford your next LCD, give me a break…please."

    Afghanistan has been in horrible shape for centuries. What about the thirty or more countries in Africa, racked by strife and war that are in horrible shape? I don't want to go to work, to earn wages, to pay taxes that go down a black hole called "American Foreign Policy." We spend a trillion dollars a year on our foreign empire. We collect a trillion dollars a year from individual taxpayers. We owe trillions of dollars to foreigners to help balance our budgets. If we cut our foreign entanglements, we could take care of matters at home, without having to burden future generations with unconscionable debt. Being the policeman of the world is no longer a viable option. It never was, but our power hungry politicans care little about realities. GO GREEN. RECYCLE CONGRESS – vote against incumbents, regardless of party.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  38. Philip

    Yeah, so what if the US is a rich country also...there are VERY many countries in Europe that are rich also so no, americans will not see any significant tax increases. You people need to stop bickering about your tax issues and see the big picture – that Afghanistan is in horrible shape, people are dying in war and starvation and all you guys worry about is how you will afford your next LCD, give me a break...please.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  39. JimMNH

    Isn't it a bit of irony that they call themselves the "Paris Club".

    Sarcasm -> "Well, I suppose it is better that we cancel 1/3 of your debt vs. having your government collapse under the weight. No point killing yourselves you know. You're more valuable to us alive and working for us.
    Quite right .. better enslaved to debt vs. some sort of nasty default. Then things just get ugly and collections have to use other mechanisms.
    Right then .. good day .. and cherrio. Aren't we grand."

    Money is a distraction. What they really want is our time and our effort. The way the "Paris Club" sees it the more they control us the better. This isn't debt forgiveness so much as long term payment insurance.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  40. Dan

    1 billion is like a penney in a barrel.The police actions in the mid east,not really war.Is costing the us its economy.we are a nation of service jobs.A lot of the large companies are go to places so they only have to pay a couple of dollars an hour.But evryone expects the us to support the world.It's about time the world starts giving back our way alittle for a change.But thats wishful thinking.We had 8 years of free money for the mid east.Hopefully it slows so our economy can pick up.I would hope we don't see another c-130 being loaded with pallets of cash heading there like it went to Iraq by the Bush group.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  41. Terry

    Daniels comment about how the US is slaughtering people like cattle just proves his ignorance.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  42. capnmike

    It is high time we stopped loaning money, which we need at home, to countries who obviously will never be able to pay it back. This is ridiculous. What gives the rest of the world the idea that they have a right to sponge off us?

    March 19, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  43. Sleuth51

    Money from poor people in rich countries, going to rich people in poor countries. Vote all the incumbents out of power, regardless of party. They have no idea how hard we work to pay our taxes and they think nothing of squandering it, left, right and center. Once that's done, they borrow from the Chinese, Japanese and other countries that are protected, at no cost to themselves, by our military. Our foreign policy is up the creek. There is no difference between the likes of Cheney and Clinton. They are power hungry and love to parade themselves before the political leaders of the world as representatives of a once great nation, but swiftly denigrating into poverty and bankruptcy. GO GREEN. RECYCLE CONGRESS.

    March 19, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  44. Tom

    Now they can afford to build a nuclear power plant to enrich uranium!!!

    March 19, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  45. Mark

    Please forgive my tax debt.

    March 19, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  46. Daniel

    Since these right-wing fanatics in Washington deem Afghanistan more important than the poor people here in America with their lack of health care in particular,why not?

    March 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Robert

    The U.S. federal government loaned Afghanistan money when? And why? Don't blame the Afghans, blame the idiots who loaned a third world country money it couldn't possibly repay in the first place. Hmmmmm. It sounds more and more like like China's relationship with the U.S.!

    March 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Cassandra

    Money / debt breeds violence and war-fare. Perhaps it is a good thing that debts are forgiven. Start with a clean slate: increase social programs, promote positive international relations, abolish corporate tax-cuts/tax-breaks, lay down the arms, and shake a hand or two in good faith. Is it really so difficult?

    It seems difficult because there is hard work involved in the short-term. But, all countries and governments need to start thinking long-term results; not just a decade or two, but in regards to life-long policies. Hard work, a little humility, and forgiveness are the characteristics of true richness.

    There are, contrary to belief, monetary reserves to accomplish such a task. The choice to be made is whether or not we want to be commercial sell-outs, attached to the hip of an undying belief that one nation is better than another, or if we want to be global citizens on a planet that does not in itself discriminate against economic ability and so neither should we.

    Cheers, all.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  49. ForTruth

    It is time for a JUBILEE...a releasing of debts for every nation.

    March 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Nancy

    That's cheap considering health care is going for$940 billion.

    March 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  51. God

    Right after all the sinners are let into heaven

    March 18, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  52. haroun Eikram

    say hello to tax increase

    March 18, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  53. Andrew

    So-called "rich countries" should not be cancelling Afghanistan's debts of only $1 billion. Rather the rich Oil-Arab fellow muslim countries which have trillions in bonds and stocks piled up should be picking up Afghanistan's meager $1billion debt (less than most of the 100 Saudi Princes over $1 billion net-worths.

    Further, its odd your article refers to "the Paris Club of creditor-governments from Major INDUSTRIALIZED nations", as forgiving Afghanistan's debts. THE USA IS NEITHER A CREDITOR NATION (we are in huge Debt status ourselves) NOR AN INDUSTRIALIZED NATION ANYMORE. The bulk of America's citizens work at producing NOTHING, are instead government employees or on government welfare type programs, together are 60% of the people in USA nowadays, with less than 15% now producing anything.

    The USA with its huge Budget Deficits and growing debts, due to picking up the family and child costs of most african american and illegal alien families, along with the IRAQ and AFGHAN Wars, is not in a position to further help fund Afghanistan.

    March 18, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  54. Erika

    "Rich countries"????? Great. More debt for American taxpayers and their children to pay off. (Yes, I checked, the US is indeed one of the "rich" countries.)

    March 18, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  55. hot lips cami

    maybe they will cancel out debt , all 75 trillion

    March 18, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  56. Daniel

    I guess this way we'll now just "purchase" a military victory.Anyway,it's better than slaughtering people like cattle as we're currently doing.And the West will never give up.

    March 17, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |