USAID Report: Rebuilding Afghanistan - Our current efforts in a war-torn country
Historic efforts have been made during the Taliban regime and the subsequent war against terrorism to deliver critically needed assistance to the Afghan people. Even before the events of last fall, Afghanistan was the United States' top recipient of humanitarian aid, receiving $174 million in fiscal year 2001 before September 11.
During the last several months, the United States has played a leading role in meeting the Afghans' immediate needs for food, water, shelter and medicine. The delivery of unprecedented amounts of food in record time by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), with funding from USAID, has greatly reduced the loss of life. The majority of this wheat, oil and lentils came from the United States and has fed more than six million men women and children.
The United States has pledged nearly $300 million in this fiscal year alone for Afghan relief and reconstruction. Of this sum, $167 million is managed by USAID. With the demise of the Taliban and the establishment of the new Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) in December 2001, Afghanistan can begin to focus on recovery and reconstruction, even as the drought continues.
To that end, USAID is working with local communities to begin to rehabilitate key infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, health clinics, schools, government buildings, and markets, as well as the water and sanitation systems in provincial capitals. Through innovative cash-for-work and food-for-work programs, Afghans are hired to complete the necessary work, thus stimulating the local economy.
While acknowledging that emergency relief efforts are still urgently required, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios outlines four goals for reconstruction: 1) Restoring food security through agriculture and increasing family income; 2) Expanding education and health services; 3) Stabilizing the country through the integration of excombatants (job creation), anti-narcotics, and infrastructure repair; and 4) Building the legitimacy and capacity of the AIA. USAID is working with the AIA, humanitarian organizations and the rest of the international community, to begin the process of building a safe, stable society that meets the needs of its people.
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