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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
UK 'broke pledges' on Afghan aid
By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Kabul

The governor of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan has criticised the UK government for lack of development projects in the area.

Mohammed Daud says the Department for International Development (DfID) has broken its promise to provide millions of pounds worth of aid.

UK defence secretary, Des Browne, said there had been considerable investment but the impact of projects took time.

He said 30m had been invested into schools, health and utilities locally.

The majority of British forces in Afghanistan are based in Helmand.

Some of these are longer term investments - they won't be immediately apparent
Des Browne, Defence Secretary

Helmand province has seen increased violence between insurgents and Nato-led and Afghan forces this year.

Speaking during a visit to Afghanistan, Mr Browne said another 3m had been spent on quick impact projects and work was now beginning in the region.

"Some of these are longer term investments - they won't be immediately apparent," he said.

"But we're now entering a phase where the engineers that we now have and the military and other local contractors are beginning to do things on the ground, and in these communities that will be far more visible.

"But long term development, long term governance development and long term economic development are what this place needs, and some of those processes take slightly longer than just a few days to implement."

Lack of progress

But Mohammed Daud, the well-respected governor of Helmand, is frustrated by the lack of progress.

He has criticised the DfID saying that "promises to get projects up and running have not been kept and there hasn't even been a DfID representative in Helmand for two months".

Mr Daud said they needed to move faster as there could be no security without development.

The deteriorating security situation in Helmand has meant many aid organisations are not able to work there for fear of attack or kidnap by the Taleban.

More than 40 UK military personnel have been killed while on operations in Afghanistan since 2001. The British ministry of defence said 21 had died from accidents, illnesses or non-combat injuries.

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