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World pledges $10.5 bn to Afghanistan

The international community has pledged $10.5 billion to Afghanistan over the next five years to help with reconstruction, it was announced at the end of talks in London.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 03:24 IST

The international community has pledged $10.5 billion to Afghanistan over the next five years to help with reconstruction, it was announced at the end of talks in London.

"This level of commitment underscores the message that Afghanistan will remain a priority for the international community," said British Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells on Wednesday following the break-up of the two-day talks involving some 70 countries.

Afghan Finance Minister Anwarullah Ahady confirmed the agreement, stating that the money would help the country "realise our development strategy".

In a joint statement, the co-chairmen of the negotiations said they welcomed the "generous pledges" of financial assistance and that they "met the budgetary requirements of the Afghan government in the next financial year".

"We are deeply encouraged as well by the total pledges of support for the (Interim Afghanistan Development Strategy)... and by the continuing rapid increase in the Afghan government's own revenues," they added.

Of the $10.5 billion, they said: "We are convinced this provides a firm basis for the work programme set out in the compact to get under way.

"We look forward to further commitments by governments and international organisations as their budgetary cycles and planning procedures permit."

It also hailed the signing of the compact as a key step towards building a "peaceful, prosperous and democratic" Afghanistan following the ousting of the Islamic extremist Taliban in 2001.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 03:24 IST