Karzai Calls for an Extra $15 Billion for Afghanistan's Reconstruction
Hamid Karzai, the interim President of Afghanistan, called for an extra $15 billion from the West for his country's reconstruction. According to The Observer, Karzai warned that the current $5 billion committed so far is not enough to meet the promises given by the United States and Britain to rebuild Afghanistan. Karzai also stated that the international donor policy of giving funds to outside agencies "weakens the presence of the central government in the provinces of Afghanistan", reports The Observer.
International donors had promised to provide $4.5 billion dollars over five years, with $1.8 billion already spent on humanitarian and reconstruction projects last year. However, little of the money spent in Afghanistan has gone to the central government. The Afghan Reconstruction and Development Center argues that at the end of last year, less than half of the promised funding has materialized, reports Reuters. The central government has not been able to pay police and civil servant salaries. The $50-60 million needed for the 2004 elections has not been raised. The Louis Berger Group, the US firm coordinating the US part of the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat highway, announced that the $180 million pledged by the United States, Japan and Saudi Arabia is only enough money to rebuild part of the highway from Kabul to Kandahar.
In addition, security remains a concern in Afghanistan. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan, asserted that Afghanistan has plunged into its worst security crisis since the end of the war last year and that Western nations are sabotaging Karzai's attempts to bring security by continuing to dismiss the need to expand the international peacekeeping force (ISAF) beyond Kabul. A study by humanitarian aid organization, CARE, shows how the international community provided one peacekeeper for every 60 people in Bosnia, Kosovo and Croatia but Afghanistan only received one peacekeeper for every 5,380 people. In addition, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder recently called for the expansion of international peacekeeping forces beyond the capitol city of Kabul. Currently, Germany leads the peacekeeping force of some 4,500 troops.
The Feminist Majority continues leading the call for ISAF expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.