Afghanistan: Netherlands contributes to enhance education in Baghlan

Kabul, Afghanistan - The Dutch Ambassador to Kabul H.E. Hans Blankenberg and the Minister of Education of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E. Hanif Atmar signed a memorandum of understanding today concerning the Netherlands additional contribution of one million dollars to improve education in Baghlan Province.

"We believe that effective education plays the most important role in a country's development, and we therefore see it as a priority in our assistance to our Afghan friends," said Ambassador Blankenberg at the signing ceremony.

The Netherlands is supporting the Afghan National Education Programme 'EQUIP' with a total contribution of four million dollars out of which three million will be spent on education in Uruzgan (320 classrooms) and one million in Baghlan (64 classrooms). The funding will be channelled through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).

The Netherlands, which is currently playing an important role in ISAF in Uruzgan, led the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Baghlan until fall 2006.

The Netherlands is also supporting other small education projects in Uruzgan, often executed by non-governmental organisations.

The Netherlands is a member of the European Union (EU). The EU (European Commission and 27 member states) has disbursed collectively EUR 3,7 billion in aid to Afghanistan over five years (2002-2006), i.e. more than one third of the aid pledged by the international community. At the London Conference in January 2006, the EU pledged a further EUR 2 billion (about USD 2.4 billion) for reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan over the coming years.

For further information, please contact:

Royal Netherlands Embassy, Khaled Khan, Press and Information Officer
Tel: 0797 000 202