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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Afghan president pleads for aid
President Karzai addresses the UN General Assembly
President Karzai sought focus on long-term aid

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has told the United Nations that lasting peace and security in his country depended on other countries fulfilling their aid pledges.


The Afghan people urgently need the pledges in Tokyo to be turned into reality - in other words, cash

President Hamid Karzai
He said although Afghanistan was facing a humanitarian crisis, he would prefer the international community to focus its aid efforts on long-term reconstruction.

He said Afghanistan needed more jobs, a proper road network and a national army to provide security.

International donors had promised at a conference in Tokyo last year to provide several billion dollars in aid money to Kabul over the next few years but much of this commitment remains unfulfilled.

President Karzai reinforced this plea during a meeting with President Bush in New York.

Plea for 'cash'

Mr Karzai's message to the UN General Assembly was simple - Afghanistan needs jobs, security and a proper road network if the country is to consolidate the peace that has emerged since the fall of the Taleban.

Mr Karzai with President Bush in New York
Pledges on road-building are to be met

Mr Karzai reminded representatives of the rich industrialised nations that last year in Tokyo they had pledged to give Afghanistan more than $4.5 billion in aid money.

Some of the pledged funds have arrived but Mr Karzai said more were needed.

He said: "The consolidation of peace and stability depends on the international community's sustained engagement in providing funding for reconstruction.

"The Afghan people urgently need the pledges in Tokyo to be turned into reality - in other words, cash."

Some good news

In a meeting with President Bush, Mr Karzai was told that Saudi Arabia, America and Japan would speed up the delivery of $180m in aid money.

These funds would be used for road reconstruction in Afghanistan.

While Mr Karzai may return from New York with more aid, he may not get a clear commitment from the UN for an extension of the international security assistance force beyond Kabul.

Although the United States has warmed to the idea, it could still be some time before this happens.

See also:

14 Jun 02 | South Asia
06 May 02 | Business
14 Apr 02 | South Asia
28 Jan 02 | South Asia
14 Jun 02 | South Asia
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