The Obama White House broadly endorsed NATO's call for the Afghanistan government to sign a new anti-corruption "contract" with international donors before they send more financial aid to the war-ravaged country.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday the administration shares Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's desire to link future aid to reduced corruption in Afghanistan - no matter who leads the government.
"The administration shares strongly the notion that, for whatever tactics you choose, whatever resources you put in, there is no doubt -- without the accompaniment of a willing partner that is able to provide some of that security, that is able to conduct a basic level of governance without that -- without corruption and with transparency is something that is going to have to be had," Gibbs said.
Fogh Rasmussen first floated the idea in an exclusive interview Tuesday with FOX News.
"We need a strengthened fight against corruption," Rasmussen said. "Therefore, I support to organize an international conference before the end of this year with the aim to establish a new contract between the international community on the one side and the Afghan government on the other side and make sure they understand that it is a prerequisite for continued international (financial) commitments that they actually deliver on their promises."
President Hamid Karzai's re-election is in doubt amid accusations of rampant vote fraud. Karzai's government has developed a notorious reputation in the West for entrenched, virtually systematic financial and political corruption.
Gibbs added Wednesday that U.S. patience with Afghanistan on this issue is not unlimited.
"That's what I mean when I say we can't be there forever. We won't be there forever. And at some point, it is going to be incumbent upon the Afghans to be able to administer, again, that base level of government without corruption, with transparency, and do so in a way that provides the security that their people need," he said.