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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Global Communications
January 9, 2003
"The United States and Afghanistan share the belief that a secure, stable Afghanistan, at peace with its neighbors, is critical to achieving our shared goals. We agree that a lasting, permanent solution for Afghanistan's security needs must be based on strengthening Afghanistan's own capacities." Joint Statement on New Partnership Between U.S. and Afghanistan January 28, 2002
President Hamid Karzai and Afghanistan's leadership have a vision of their country as an effective partner with the international community. Presidents Bush and Karzai stand together for a new and better future for Afghanistan - a future free from terror, war, and want. In a joint statement on January 28, 2002, Presidents Bush and Karzai said: "We pledge our respect for the future and traditions of the different peoples of Afghanistan, and for the great religion of Islam, which has been tragically distorted and misused by the Taliban."
Since October 1, 2001, the U.S. has committed $840 million in humanitarian and reconstruction aid to help the people of Afghanistan with the U.S. fulfilling 95 percent of the $297 million pledged at the Tokyo Conference in January 2002. The international community pledged $5 billion for Afghanistan, including humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. The international community in 2002 pledged $2 billion for Afghanistan, nearly all of which ($1.88 billion) has been spent or is in the pipeline.
Highlights of U.S. Assistance in Afghanistan
- This week, the United States announced $2.5 million for the construction of 14 women's centers; an additional $1 million for training women on business and NGO management, political participation, and girls' education; $1 million for the Afghan Conservation Corps, giving employment opportunities to returning refugees and demobilized fighters; and $1 million for the Afghan Human Rights Commission.
- The women's resource centers are part of $100 million specifically assisting women.
- The U.S. is assisting the Afghan government in creating a national army. In 2002, American soldiers helped train 1,600 Afghan soldiers.
- The U.S. has committed $80 million to reconstruction of the main commercial road between Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat. Construction is underway.
- Since April 2002, 4.3 million Afghan children have been immunized against measles.
- America's Fund for Afghan Children has raised more than $1 million in the past two months, bringing the total donations to the fund to $11.4 million since October 2001.
U.S. Military Activities: The United States military is moving into the next phase of its work in Afghanistan. By February 2003, American military forces will expend 75 percent of their effort on reconstruction of security services and supporting civil reconstruction. These activities will help to create stable conditions so that Afghans can provide their own security and continue to rebuild their country.
"[W]e're going to help Afghanistan develop her own military. That is the most important part of this visit, it seems like to me, besides the fact of welcoming a man who stands for freedom, a man who stood for freedom in the face of tyranny." President Bush, The Rose Garden, January 28, 2002
Afghan National Army: The U.S. supports the Afghan government's plan to create an army of 70,000 to defend Afghanistan and respond to any external threats that may arise. The United States is leading the international effort to revitalize the Afghan National Army and has helped to train and equip four battalions, comprising 1,600 soldiers. The U.S. will also provide assistance for military infrastructure, including $16 million for rebuilding barracks, dining facilities and training areas.
Humanitarian Demining: The mine threat remains a major impediment to restoration of normal life. As many as 200,000 Afghans were injured by landmines last year. Since 1998, when the U.S. began providing humanitarian demining assistance, Afghanistan deminers have cleared 2,000 square miles of land, destroying approximately 250,000 landmines and over 2.75 million pieces of unexploded ordnance. This demining campaign has helped more than 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes, while lowering the casualty rate by 50 percent. U.S. forces have not placed any mines in Afghanistan.
Strengthening Institutions: The U.S. is investing more than $38 million to help the Afghan people strengthen civic institutions and reinforce democracy and stability. Logistical and technical assistance is helping establish systems of justice, rehabilitate the Central Bank, and reform governmental financial management systems.
Commissions: The Afghan Government has established three commissions to draft a new constitution, promote judicial reform, and encourage respect for human rights. In the past year, the Afghan Government has made substantial progress in standing up these commissions. The United States is giving $5 million to facilitate the commissions' work and encourages other countries to fulfill their pledges.
Political: The U.S. helped the Afghan people end the Taliban's tyrannical rule and is continuing to help Afghans structure a new political system that includes women and minorities. We provided logistical support for the emergency Loya Jirga in June 2002 that established the current government. At the Loya Jirga, 220 of 1700 participants were women; one year earlier, women were still required to be accompanied by a male relative when outside the home. The U.S. will continue to support strengthening the central government under President Karzai through technical assistance, such as building a $10.5 million transmission facility for Afghan national radio.
Empowering Women: The Afghan Government wants to give women the education, skills, and tools they need to obtain jobs, support families, and integrate into the political and public life of Afghanistan. Most U.S. Government programs in Afghanistan assist women, and there are a significant number of female-specific programs, as well. These include refurbishing the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs building, providing technical advisors to the ministry, establishing a women's resource center with internet access, computer training, and print and video materials on women's rights.
In addition, 14 neighborhood-based women's centers offering vocational training, networking, and social services for widows and orphans are being created. The U.S.-Afghan Women's Council, inaugurated by Presidents Bush and Karzai in January 2002, has mobilized the private sector in the U.S. to support Afghan women, including computer education and leadership training for women working in government ministries.
"We liberated [Afghanistan] from the clutches of a barbaric regime. It's hard for any American to understand this, but many young girls never went to school because of these people. And now, thanks to America and our friends and allies, they're going to school. We're liberators, not conquerors, here in America. Every life matters, whether it be an American life or the life of an Afghan girl." President Bush, Little Rock, Arkansas, August 29, 2002
Counternarcotics, Police and Justice Sector Reform: The Afghans want to revise their police and justice sectors, and the U.S. is helping them with $66 million for this purpose. These funds are being used for a variety of activities:
- Creating over 52,000 short-term jobs to provide alternative employment to poppy growers.
- Helping the capital of Kabul become safer, by training and equipping 7,000 police officers.
- Reforming the judicial sector by providing infrastructure for legal professionals and support for effective functioning of the courts.
The U.S. and our coalition partners are helping Afghans create a facility to train police, judges and prosecutors, including women, in modern criminal justice principles and human rights. The United Kingdom has the lead on assistance to combat narcotics. The German government has the lead on the police, while the Italian government is leading efforts to rebuild the judicial sector.
President Karzai has made rebuilding Afghanistan's infrastructure a top priority, and President Bush has agreed to help. These activities include an $80 million U.S. pledge to help rehabilitate the main commercial road connecting Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat. Construction on the road began in November 2002 and completion is targeted for 2004. In addition, the U.S. is assisting the Afghan Government in repairing and reconstructing 28 bridges and more than 4,000 km of secondary or tertiary roads, providing $1.6 million in funds for winterization of the Salang tunnel/highway to help keep open vital communication and transportation lines to the north, and rehabilitating over 6,000 water wells, canals, dams and water systems.
The United States contributed more than $23 million to health in Afghanistan in 2002. Since April 2002, 2 million Afghans in rural areas have enjoyed improved access to primary health care. In addition, 4.3 million children were immunized against measles, 120,000 insecticide-treated bed nets were provided, sixty-eight clinics received drugs and equipment, the central surveillance system of the nationwide polio eradication program was revitalized, the national curriculum for midwives was revised and training for auxiliary midwives developed. Health facilities, including 28 clinics and hospitals, have already been rebuilt, and completion of the National Health Resource Assessment will be used to determine the appropriate location for construction and rehabilitation of up to 600 primary health care facilities.
In 2001, most Afghan children were not enrolled in school, but today, three million children are in school. Afghan students received over 15 million textbooks and their teachers have received 30,000 instructional kits from America, and the United States has helped rebuild or rehabilitate more than 230 schools; provided refresher training to 1,360 teachers in Kabul, 65 percent of whom are women; trained 60 master teacher trainers, 70 percent of whom are women. UNICEF and the Ministry of Education worked together on a back-to-school program that reached all areas of Afghanistan. In addition, with financial assistance from the U.S., Afghanistan's universities, furnishing faculties and dormitories are being rehabilitated.
America's Fund for Afghan Children: Since President Bush announced America's Fund for Afghan Children in October 2001, the fund has raised $11.4 million, including more than $1 million in the past three months. This money purchased 1,750 school chests and 750 teacher kits, 130,000 school bags, and built new playgrounds for schools in Afghanistan. Winter relief items, health kits, and rehabilitation of clinics were also provided with these funds. The American Red Cross processed 777,674 letters and donations to the fund. For more information, see http://kidsfund.redcross.org.
Refugees: More than two million Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons have returned home in the past year. The United States has helped some of the most needy and vulnerable returnees, donating $145.7 million over the past year. Programs include $67 million to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for returning refugees and aiding with resettlement, and these programs have paid for transportation back to Afghanistan, provision of wheat and some basic necessities to help refugee families reintegrate into their home communities. The neediest 40,000 refugee families also received a shelter kit to help make basic repairs to their homes.
The international community is building nearly 3,000 wells in areas to which large numbers of refugees returned. U.S. assistance is also refurbishing 500 homes and giving construction training to returnees in Bamyan and Baghlan provinces. In Takhar and Kunduz provinces, the U.S. is providing emergency shelter kits and winter warmth kits to as many as 60,000 refugees, so returnees can repair and reconstruct homes, rebuild clinics and schools, and replenish their herds in Bamyan and Kabul.
Food Aid: Since October 1, 2001, the United States has provided over 365,000 metric tons of food aid to the people of Afghanistan, a contribution that helped avert famine last winter. This assistance, valued at more than $200 million, was targeted at the most vulnerable groups totaling some nine million people, including those affected by natural disaster and conflict, returning refugees, and internally displaced persons. The United States provides about 70 percent of all food aid to Afghans through the World Food Program.
Emergency Assistance: This year, the United States has provided $22 million for emergency shelter materials, construction, and winterization needs.
Fiscal and banking reform, trade policy, legal and regulatory framework, and privatization of state owned banks and public sector enterprises is being implemented by the Afghan government, and over the next three years, the U.S. will provide $50 million to promote. These activities are in support of the Afghan Government's ambitious program aimed at restoring full central government control of the nation's currency. Afghanistan is applying for entry into international trade agreements, including Generalized System of Preferences, and the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce is working to spark international investment.
Agriculture: Agriculture is a way of life for 70 percent of Afghans, and U.S. financial assistance to the agriculture sector totaled $50 million in 2002. This assistance is aimed at improving crop production. During the past spring planting, the U.S. donated 7,000 metric tons of seed, fertilizer, and technical assistance to over 40,000 farmers in Afghanistan. During the last fall planting, over 100,000 Afghan farmers received assistance. Over the next two years, the U.S will provide an additional 48,000 metric tons of seed and help farmers repair irrigation. In 2002, Afghanistan increased agriculture production 82 percent over 2001.
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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)