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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 08:46 GMT
Afghan donors urged to hurry
People walking on a ruined street in Kabul
Rebuilding Afghanistan will take years
Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai has said the $4.5bn of aid pledged to start rebuilding the country must be made available quickly.

"We are happy with the result... we also hope pledges are made true immediately," Mr Karzai said at the end of a two-day conference of international donors in Tokyo.

Aid organisations and officials agreed on the need for urgency.

Funding is going to stop unless it goes to the sorts of programmes we are trying to reach

James Wolfensohn, World Bank president
"It's extremely important that we work very quickly to translate promises made on paper to real cheques," said Chris Patten, the European Union's commissioner on external relations.

The conference's final statement said more than $1.8bn will be given in the first year, with funding over the next few years bringing the total to $4.5bn.

Afghan delegates at the meeting expressed delight at the amount pledged, but questions remain about whether the money will reach those most in need.

Pledges so far
US: $296m 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
Pakistan $100m over five years
World Bank: $500m over two and a half years
Asian Development Bank: $500m over two and a half years

The conference statement set out several priorities for rebuilding Afghanistan - with the setting up a credible administration in Kabul and education, particularly for girls, topping the list.

Health, agriculture and the creation of an effective financial system were also singled out.

As an indication of how much is to be done, the interim government on Tuesday began paying some salaries to its civil servants, the first time they had received any pay in seven months.


Closing the conference, Japan's envoy on Afghan affairs, Sadako Ogata, said the money was offered on the condition that all Afghan ethnic groups would make an active contribution to the goals of reconstruction and reconciliation.

Donors are also looking for guarantees that the aid will not be wasted or be misused by corrupt officials.

Hamid Karzai addresses the Tokyo conference
Mr Karzai made an impassioned plea for support

"I think there is a very strong recognition that funding is going to stop unless it goes to the sorts of programmes we are trying to reach," said James Wolfensohn, World Bank president.

But few details were given about the rules for spending the money. Aid agencies have expressed concern that some countries might put conditions on how and where their donations should be spent.

Long-term fears

The pledges are still some way short of the $10bn over five years that the United Nations says Afghanistan needs to rebuild.

The BBC's Charles Scanlon in Tokyo says there are also doubts over the longer-term funding, with most countries committing themselves for less than three 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.

Pakistan notably pledged $100m over five years to help rebuild its shattered neighbour. Pakistan had been one of only three countries to back the ousted Taleban when they controlled Afghanistan.

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

The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"The results were better than many had expected"
Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai
"We would like the money as soon as possible"
Dr Noyee Azim, UK Afghan Medical Association
"One in four Afghan children don't reach the age of five"
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:

22 Jan 02 | South Asia
In pictures: Afghans' aid needs
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 | Asia-Pacific
Japan bags top role in Afghan recovery
22 Jan 02 | South Asia
North Afghans' battle for survival
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