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US Seeks More Money to Boost Afghan Police

Donors at a United Nations Conference are pledging millions of dollars to help rebuild Afghanistan's police and military forces. Money also was promised to strengthen Afghanistan's judicial system and to eradicate the heroin and narcotics trade.

Many countries, including neighboring Pakistan, Iran, China and India, pledged support for Afghanistan's efforts to rebuild the country's military and police forces.

The U.S. envoy for Afghanistan, James Dobbins, said the Bush Administration has asked Congress for $278 million in additional funding. At a donors conference in Tokyo in January, the United States pledged $290 million for Afghan reconstruction. Mr. Dobbins said the additional funds will be earmarked for counter-narcotics programs, as well as training, salaries, reconstruction and other assistance for Afghanistan's military and police forces.

He said a different country or institution has agreed to take the lead in coordinating funds for each of five targeted areas.

"On military training, the United States has agreed to take the lead, and has been requested to do so by the Afghan interim authority. On police, it is Germany. On counter-narcotics, it is the United Kingdom. On demobilization, it is the U.N. mission in Afghanistan. And on support for the judicial, penal and administration of justice sector, it is the government of Italy," Mr. Dobbins said.

Afghanistan's foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, calls security his country's most urgent need. He said it will take time before Afghanistan will have a national police and military force. Until then, he said, the international security force will be needed to keep the peace throughout the country.

The Afghan foreign minister urged countries to follow through on their commitments. "If we do not receive contributions time-wise, we will be in trouble, and the whole process would be in trouble, and peace and stability would be in trouble. In today's meeting, this was very much evident, that that awareness was there on the part of the international community. And the interest, which different countries showed in aspects of security, was a sign of that willingness and that interest," Mr. Abdullah said.

Mr. Abdullah said Afghanistan cannot rely on the presence of a multi-national force to keep the peace forever. He said the contributions will enable Afghanistan to establish the security forces it needs to maintain stability.