Secretary of State Hillary Clinton struck an optimistic note on both the Syrian conflict and the development of Afghanistan as an autonomous nation during a conference on aid to Afghanistan in Tokyo on Sunday, at which donor nations pledged $4 billion a year in aid to Afghanistan, the Washington Post and CNN reported.
Clinton said President Obama would be requesting aid from Congress for the nation "at or near" the levels previously provided, between $1 billion to $4 billion each year. The conference comes in advance of the 2014 target for full withdrawal of NATO and U.S. troops from the nation, following which, the Post reports, the World Bank has said the nation will need $3.9 billion to prevent an economic collapse there.
Though the conference focused on aid to Afghanistan over the next four years and what the nation can do to alleviate a rampant corruption problem, Clinton commented during a press conference on the escalating conflict in Syria, saying that "the days are numbered" for the current ruling regime in Syria.
"There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective in their defense of themselves and in going on the offense against the Syrian military and the Syrian government's militias," Clinton said, according to CNN.
The recent high-level defections from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government seem to indicate, Clinton said, that "the sand is running out of the hourglass."
"The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there's a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region," she added.