Skip to comments.US to relaunch rebuilding of Afghanistan
Posted on 07/27/2003 2:55:53 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US is preparing to reshuffle top officials with responsibility for Afghanistan, expand the number of staff serving in the country, and award an additional $1bn (?870m, £620m) in assistance in a bid to re-energise its reconstruction effort, according to US and Afghan officials familiar with the plans.
The policy shift, whose motto is "Accelerate Success", was a response by US State and Defense Department officials to a chorus of concern about the Afghan reconstruction process, officials said.
The US government was eager to point to Afghanistan as a success story as it faced difficulty in getting the situation in Iraq under control, officials said. It was also anxious that Hamid Karzai, the moderate, US-backed Afghan president, should notch up more achievements before elections, due in June 2004.
The assistance package, which could be announced this week, would include about $1bn in new money from Washington. US officials hope European allies will add about $600m. The total would more than double the amount of international assistance due to be spent in Afghanistan in the coming year.
An Afghan official said it was keen that the money should go to projects that would strengthen the local government.
"We're facing a very important year," an official close to Mr Karzai said.
"Will it go to the Afghan budget or through the [aid] agencies? That is the question."
But Afghan officials said there had been no talk of expanding peacekeeping operations, which are currently confined to Kabul.
The US intended to expand the number of officials posted to Afghanistan, adding groups of advisers to several key ministries, officials said. It was not clear how many people this would involve, although officials' estimates ranged from 70 to hundreds.
As part of the effort, the US will reshuffle some of its top Afghan officials. Robert Finn, ambassador to Kabul since March 2002, will leave in the next few days. Zalmay Khalilzad, currently US special envoy to Afghanistan, is widely expected to replace him, though this was not "110 per cent sure", a source close to the US embassy said.
Mr Finn, who is well liked and respected in Kabul, is expected to return to Princeton University, where he taught Turkic studies before his Afghan posting.
Robert Blackwill, outgoing US ambassador to New Delhi, is to become President George W. Bush's senior adviser on Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran at the National Security Council in Washington.
Mr Blackwill made a little-advertised visit to Kabul last week to "check things out", a source close to the embassy said.
Meanwhile, William Taylor, the US special representative for assistance to Afghanistan, is expected to take over from David Johnson as Afghan co-ordinator, the State Department position that oversees Afghan policy. Edward Luce in New Delhi adds: Pakistan will face "consequences" if it fails to honour its promise to stop cross-border terrorism into India, Mr Blackwill said on Sunday.
He said terrorists continued to move into India from Pakistan across the Line of Control that divides the disputed province of Kashmir.
This was in spite of the promise last year by General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, to put a halt to terrorist infiltration.
"Of course, there are consequences if promises made to the US president are not fulfilled - we are working hard to make this point," Mr Blackwill said. "Promises made to the president of the US ought to be kept."
It is important that we rebuild this country so that it can flank Iran on the east, with Iraq on the west.
Great,.....start dropping Nukes on all the drug fields etc.
Irradiation all their 'puppies',......!!
(Change the region.......change the DRUG religion!)
Point: We should make sure that it's money well spent for the future of these countries and ourselves. The 'ourselves' part has been biting us in the $ss thanks to previous administrations. One in particular.
That's the message we seem to be giving Pakistan - not Af'sthan. It's common knowledge that the paks had over-run this place with their Taliban and their terrorist masters, whom they still harbor.
I would have preferred the $3Bn we offered Pakistan to have gone to Af'sthan.
No, it's turn the terrorists out, deny them a base they can operate from and join the US in the war on terrorism and we will glady assist you.
It's a good deal for us, and a good deal for them.
And the terrorists lose.
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