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UN Envoy: Pledged Aid Urgently Needed in Afghanistan - 2002-02-06

U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi says the interim administration is making significant progress in restoring stability. He also stressed Afghanistan needs aid funds to start flowing immediately.

Lakhdar Brahimi said the new interim authority in Afghanistan is achieving results despite considerable obstacles. But he added the Kabul government has an urgent need for money now and the U.N.'s special envoy to Afghanistan told the Security Council that countries that have pledged aid should deliver those funds as quickly as possible.

Mr. Brahimi also echoed earlier comments from Secretary-General Kofi Annan in calling for security issues to be given top priority.

Mr. Brahimi drew attention to humanitarian concerns. He noted that areas of Afghanistan previously considered far too dangerous for relief agencies are now accessible and that food and other supplies are getting through. He did note, however, that many refugees who are now returning are straining the resources of relief agencies, meaning more help is necessary.

Mr. Brahimi also discussed the future mission of the U.N. within Afghanistan. For it to be successful, he stressed, it must be limited, so as not compromise the legitimacy of the new administration. "We are now close to a consensus on the structure, which is an integrated mission that will operate with a 'light footprint,' keeping the international U.N. presence to the minimum required, while our Afghan colleagues are given as much of a role as possible," he said. "My discussions both in Kabul and in New York indicate that there is agreement within the United Nations on this approach."

Mr. Brahimi concluded by saying it is the hope of the Afghan people that the U.N. and the entire international community continue to stand by them "for the long haul."