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US Pledges 'Generous' Support for Rebuilding Afghanistan

By VOA News
10 June 2008

The United States is pledging generous financial support for Afghanistan at this week's international conference of nations that want to help the war-torn country rebuild itself.

A senior State Department official, Richard Boucher says the U.S. aid offer will be delivered in Paris Thursday at a donor nations' meeting to discuss Afghanistan's five-year, $50-billion reconstruction plan.

Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, told reporters in Washington Tuesday that the United States supports Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his government's rebuilding work.

The U.S. official says the Afghan government has made significant progress in recent years by taking the lead on infrastructure projects and strengthening local and provincial leadership.

Although corruption remains a serious problem in Afghanistan, Boucher said the Karzai government has been combating such crimes by practicing greater fiscal responsibility.

The State Department official says the United States wants to improve coordination between the United Nations and other donor countries engaged in Afghanistan's redevelopment. His remarks echoed those of Kai Eide, the United Nations special representative for Afghanistan.

Eide called Tuesday for a "new deal" between the Afghan government and the international community, and said the administration in Kabul must intensify anti-corruption efforts and demonstrate greater accountability.

The U.N. representative also said more resources and efforts should be channeled into rebuilding basic state institutions in Afghanistan, so they can protect and serve the Afghan people.

President Karzai will open the Afghan donors' conference on Thursday together with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and First Lady Laura Bush are representing the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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