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3/8/03 - COALITION ASSISTING AFGHANISTAN - 2003-03-10


Since September 2001, the United States has provided nearly nine-hundred-million dollars for Afghan relief and reconstruction. But while the U.S. remains the leading provider of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, more than forty other coalition countries are active there as well.

East Asian partners are making major contributions. Japan hosted the 2002 Tokyo Conference on Afghan Reconstruction, and has pledged over five-hundred-million dollars for a wide range of programs. The Japanese are leading the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration campaign, and are active in such projects as road building. South Korea has sent doctors and nurses along with laboratory and radiographic equipment, and has invited more than one-hundred Afghan agriculture, labor, and women’s rights officials to Korea for first-hand exposure to development since the 1953 end of the Korean War.

Jordan has set up and staffed a hospital in the Afghan city of Mazar e-Sharif. Since opening in December 2001, the hospital has treated more than one-hundred-sixty-five thousand patients and performed more than two-thousand surgeries. Jordanian doctors are teaching and training Afghan medical personnel. Jordanian experts also have cleared land mines in the area around Bagram and Kandahar.

Spain is another active member of the coalition. In Afghanistan, Spanish helicopters are involved in search and rescue operations. Spanish planes deliver supplies and assist with air traffic control. And Spain has provided engineers to help rebuild bridges.

The United Arab Emirates has aided Afghanistan reconstruction by providing more than one-hundred vehicles, more than two-hundred-fifteen metric tons of supplies, and eighty tons of school equipment.

When Afghanistan is firmly on its feet and no longer needs assistance, the U.S.-led coalition will leave. From the beginning, the goal has been liberation, not occupation, and reconstruction to assure Afghanistan will never again become a haven for terrorists. As President George W. Bush said, “Thanks to the coalition we have put together, we have freed the people of Afghanistan from one of the most repressive regimes in the history of mankind. Not only are we steadfast in our desire to defend that which we believe, we also are willing to commit resources to free a nation.”

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