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SLUG: 4-0087 Powell Afghan Aid



TITLE= Powell Afghan Aid


BYLINE=Susan Yackee



Inserts are available in Dalet - SOD/English News Now/Reports

TEXT: U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States will pledge another one billion dollars in Afghan reconstruction aid at an upcoming donors' conference. That will raise U-S aid to Kabul to two-point-two billion dollars this year.

The humanitarian aid organization CARE has long been established in Afghanistan to provide assistance. CARE's Kevin Henry is currently preparing a briefing on the needs of the Afghan people. And he has visited Afghanistan four times in the past two years to gather information. He calls the announcement of additional U-S aid good news, but notes that the Afghan government estimates rebuilding the nation will take 27-point-5 billion dollars over the next seven years. He calls on other nations and organizations to contribute.

Mr. Henry says before reconstruction can get underway fully, security must be improved.

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There is a need for investments in such areas as training and developing the capacity of the Afghan police, of the judicial system, of the army so that the capacity of the Afghan government to provide for the security of its own people is enhanced.

///End Henry Act 1 ///

Mr. Henry says after security is established, the physical structure will have to be rebuilt. That would include roads, electrical power and communications. He says from CARE's perspective, even more important to the long-term future of the nation, are investments in human capital.

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Afghanistan is very poor. Its people have suffered enormously. There is a need for major investments in such areas as education and health care. If you look at basic statistics in literacy, in infant mortality, in maternal mortality...Afghanistan has some of the poorest indicators of any country in the world. So we think the first priority is investing in the people of Afghanistan.

/// End Henry Act 2 ///

Kevin Henry, of the aid organization CARE, speaking from his Atlanta, Georgia office. He says the most vulnerable members of Afghan society, like widows, need to be adequately provided for as the nation moves forward.


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