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Karzai to ask for $4bn aid in UK conference

Karzai said any failure to support the Afghan government would undermine its gains in other fields.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 18:09 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will ask the international community to commit 4 billion dollars more to boost reconstruction of his country at a donor conference in London on Tuesday.

Karzai on Saturday told Britain's Financial Times newspaper the time had come for aid donors to give directly to the government of Afghanistan rather than the non-governmental organisations who work there.

Karzai said the conference would not only seek to raise 4 billion dollars for the next fiscal year's budget and explain the need for 20 billion dollars over the next five years, but also take stock of the Afghan government's performance over the past four years.

"Afghan people want a stronger Afghan government and Afghan civil service with the ability to fund and deliver basic services," he said in an interview.

"We would like the international community to deliver a bigger part of their resources through Afghan government institutions rather than spending it through non-governmental organisations," he added.

Karzai said any failure to support the Afghan government would undermine its gains in other fields.

Of the country's problems though, Karzai said Afghanistan was still struggling to combat the trade in narcotics.

He said British troops who are to be based in southern Afghanistan would need to tackle the opium business.

Britain announced on Thursday it would send 3,300 troops as part of a major new three-year mission to bring NATO peacekeepers to southern Afghanistan.

The deployment will bring to 5,700 the number of British troops in the country.

"Narcotics is a problem that we have to face," he said. "Narcotics money feeds terrorism."

The recent upsurge in attacks on NATO-led troops was a sign of "desperation" he said, although he expressed frustration at Pakistan in not preventing cross-border infiltration, the origin of many of the attacks.

Karzai will meet with Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, next month to urge closer cooperation.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 18:09 IST