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Donors Pledge Afghan Commitment

October 14, 2002

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ International donors wrapped up a two-day meeting in Afghanistan with promises to keep supporting the government’s plans to rebuild the war-battered country.

President Hamid Karzai has asked donors to channel the $4.5 billion pledged in Tokyo in January to government reconstruction projects in sectors including road repair, education, urban development and power generation.

``We all share this vision and we’re all committed to moving forward on that basis,″ U.N. representative Nigel Fisher said Sunday.

Fisher said the vision addresses ``the root causes of vulnerability still faced by many Afghans _ poverty, illiteracy and insecurity.″

Several Cabinet ministers presented the government’s development plans during the talks, the first held since April. Donors agreed to hold a follow-up meeting next February, officials said.

The World Bank issued a statement reiterating its long-term commitment to Afghanistan and pledging $470 million over the next two years.

Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani said Friday the government needs up to $20 billion over the next five years to put the country back on its feet and end its dependence on foreign aid.

Of the $4.5 billion pledged in Tokyo, Ghani said ``it is clear that that amount will not suffice to meet the vision that we have of ourselves.″

``The vision that we have here is very simple. We want a prosperous country where our citizens would not be threatened by poverty, by illiteracy.″

President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that the bulk of foreign aid money to Afghanistan this year had gone to humanitarian organizations and the United Nations _ not to his administration.

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