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Boucher On Aid To Afghanistan

In testimony before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said the "overarching aims" of the United States in the region are to "champion democracy and its foundations of education, information, and the rule of law," to "facilitate the integration of South and Central Asia," to "stop the flow of narcotics," and "to bolster political and economic reform."

A top U.S. priority, said Mr. Boucher, is to win the war and secure development and democracy in Afghanistan. The United States and its allies, he said, are taking a "comprehensive approach" in Afghanistan -– one that addresses not only security but also "develops local capacity, builds infrastructure and democratic institutions, and promotes economic growth and trade."

The United States has provided more than fourteen billion dollars in security and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan. President George W. Bush has requested an additional nearly twelve billion dollars for the remainder of this year and 2008. Assistant Secretary of State Boucher said that this is a significant increase in funding compared to previous years:

"The funding request reflects a strategy of extending government and the benefits of government to people throughout the country, especially in the south and east. It will go into training police and military, constructing district roads, increasing electricity generation and distribution, extending government, training government employees, providing services to citizens, fighting narcotics, and bringing about rural development."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said the United States will continue to work with its partners to ensure that aid efforts in Afghanistan are "strengthened, broadened, and coordinated."

Reflecting the Views of the U.S. Government as Broadcast on The Voice of America