U.S. may give $4 billion more for Afghan reconstruction
Wednesday, April 9, 2008 3:17 AM
By Matthew Lee, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is hoping to pledge nearly $4 billion in additional aid for Afghanistan at an international donors conference to be held in June in Paris, a U.S. official said yesterday.
France will host the meeting on June 14 and set a goal of raising $12 billion to $15 billion to fund Afghan reconstruction projects through 2014. The United States is looking to contribute at least 25 percent of that total, the official said.
The official, who said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice likely would lead the U.S. delegation to the conference, spoke on condition of anonymity because the administration has not yet determined its pledge amount.
International donors have pledged about $32.7 billion in reconstruction funds for Afghanistan since 2001; $21 billion of that has come from the United States.
The donors will gather in June as NATO tries to better coordinate military and civilian reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan with the help of new U.N. envoy Kai Eide.
Eide attended last week’s NATO summit in Romania, where France and other nations agreed to deploy more troops to Afghanistan to boost the alliance’s 47,000 troops there.
But more manpower is needed. Also, international assistance to Afghanistan has been criticized as wasteful. An umbrella group of aid agencies estimated that 40 percent of donations go to salaries of highly paid foreign experts.
Eide has said that one of his key roles will be to see that the aid money is well-spent.