Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development, said: "Afghanistan is the sixth largest recipient of DFID assistance and the UK is committed to maintaining its support for the Afghan people and the building of an effective Afghan state. We are ahead of schedule delivering the pledge we made at Tokyo and with the support of others benefits are being felt across the country with nationwide immunisation programmes, irrigation canals rehabilitated, roads being built and children back in school.
Afghanistan is making progress. There is a lot more to do and it will take time to rebuild the institutions and infrastructure of Afghanistan. But we are committed for the long term so that there is real hope for a better life for the people, and especially for the children of this resilient nation."
Notes to Editors:
1. UK officials are attending the Afghanistan Development Forum in Kabul and Brussels.
2. President Karzai is to visit the UK in April 2003 where he is expected to meet the Secretary of State.
3. At the Tokyo conference in January 2002 the international community pledged $4.5 billion of which 40% has been disbursed.
4. Of the UK's pledge at Tokyo (=A3200 million over 5 years) over a quarter has already been disbursed. The UK contribution, along with pledges from across the international community, is being used for the long-term rehabilitation of Afghanistan following years of war, drought and mismanagement.
5. The UK pledge is in addition to the significant sums that DFID contribute to the World Bank, European Union and Asian Development Bank. DFID's share of the European Union pledge (Euro 1 billion over 5 years) is 19.5%.
6. For further information on how things have improved in Afghanistan and examples of how the UK has helped please visit www.dfid.gov.uk