TOKYO - Afghan President Hamid Karzai will seek $3.9 billion in annual international assistance to rebuild the economy when he attends a conference this weekend in Tokyo, Japanese media reported Tuesday. Karzai voiced the request when Japanese reporters interviewed him in Kabul on Tuesday ahead of the one-day international aid conference for Afghanistan on Sunday, public broadcaster NHK reported. He said his country needs a combined $3.9 billion from the international community every year to rebuild the Afghan economy starting from 2015, following the pullout of NATO forces from Afghanistan, NHK said.

During the interview, Karzai reiterated his call for the Taliban to join mainstream politics in Afghanistan by taking part in forthcoming presidential and general elections.

“My recommendation to Taliban is to join the peace process and become a political force in Afghanistan,” the Afghan president was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.

“They are welcome to participate legitimately in the democratic process in the country, in reaching the highest power in the country, political power through the voice of people and through constitutional means.”

The Tokyo conference will bring together UN chief Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior officials from about 70 countries as well as international organisations.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi will also reportedly attend.