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Monday, 21 January, 2002, 12:45 GMT
Billions pledged in Afghan aid
Hamid Karzai (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Mr Karzai: Afghans have suffered "nothing but disaster"
International donors at a conference in Tokyo have promised Afghanistan more than $3bn to help it start rebuilding after years of war.

Most of the money pledged will come from Japan, the US, the European Union and Saudi Arabia.

In order to eradicate terrorism, we must eliminate the conditions that allow terrorism to take root

Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi
Interim Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai opened the conference with an impassioned appeal for support.

"I stand before you today as a citizen of a country that has had nothing but disaster, war, brutality and depravation against its people for many years," he said.

Departing from his prepared text, Mr Karzai warned delegates that he and his ministers were not representative of ordinary Afghans.

Pledges so far
US: $297m this year
Japan: Up to $500m by 2004
EU: $495m this year
Saudi: $220m over three years
UK: $288m over five years
Germany: $362m over four years
World Bank: $500m
Asian Development Bank: $500m

"We are nicely dressed, we have eaten a good breakfast this morning... but ladies and gentleman remember that there are in Afghanistan millions of people who are unable to go to basic school, find a treatment for some minor illness, forced to travel with relatives on incredibly bad roads," he said.

A BBC correspondent at the conference says the real test now is whether the donors will deliver the promised funds promptly.

In a separate development, fighting is reported to have broken out in Afghanistan's Kunduz Province between forces of commanders who are meant to be allies under the interim government.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency said 11 people have been killed in skirmishing between troops loyal to ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam and ethnic Tajik fighters loyal to former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani.

High hopes

The pledges made in Tokyo for immediate assistance almost match the target of $1.3bn set by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan just to cover the interim government's daily expenses.

But they are still some way short of the $10bn over five years that Mr Annan says Afghanistan needs to rebuild.

Homes destroyed in Kabul
Rebuilding will take years

The United States said it would offer almost $300m in the coming year, in addition to $400m in humanitarian assistance committed by President Bush last autumn.

Among European Union donors, the UK pledged 200m ($288m) over five years, but said the UN's $10bn target was unrealistically high.

The European Commission and other members will give nearly $500m this year, with promises of more aid to come. Germany has also promised $362m over four years.

Mr Karzai had arrived in Tokyo from Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Abdullah reportedly promised him an immediate $20m.

In Tokyo, the kingdom added another $220m over three years.

And the World Bank and Asian Development Bank say they will each provide $500m over the next two-and-a-half years.

The two-day conference is being hosted jointly by Japan, the European Union, the United States and Saudi Arabia, who expect to share the bill for rebuilding Afghanistan.

But donors want reassurances that Afghanistan has workable plans for establishing democracy and civil rights, as well as battling the drugs trade.

The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"The United States had hinted at a substantial contribution"
International Crisis Group's Mark Schneider
"The question is what happens next"
World Bank president James Wolfensohn
"This is not an issue of charity or choice"
Is enough being done to help rebuild Afghanistan?



2521 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

The loya jirga


Unfinished conflict

Rebuilding the country



See also:

21 Jan 02 | South Asia
Afghanistan looks to form new army
21 Jan 02 | Media reports
Karzai's plea for aid
21 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Britain pledges 200m Afghan aid
19 Jan 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
The brave children of Afghanistan
20 Jan 02 | South Asia
Aid lifeline for Afghanistan
20 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Japan bags top role in Afghan recovery
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