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UN, Afghan Officials Tell Donor Nations Stability Could Worsen Without Strong Support - 2002-07-11

U.N. and Afghan officials have told representatives of 15 donor nations that Afghanistan's stability could worsen if the international community fails to support reconstruction work in the country.

The appeal to donors follows the assassination of one of Afghanistan's vice presidents, Haji Abdul Qadir by less than a week. In his remarks in Geneva, Afghanistan's finance minister said there would probably be more assassinations, because the situation was so unstable.

The minister, Ashraf Ghani, told the representatives of the donor countries that in order for Afghanistan to become a stable, democratic country its people would first need to have confidence their lives and property will be protected.

"This translates into a demand for creation of the national army and the national police as institutions," Mr. Ghani said. "There is also universal, near universal consensus in Afghanistan on the extension and expansion of the International Peacekeeping Force. But, that, of course, is not up to us. It is up to the international community."

Mr. Ghani's message about the importance of protecting Afghans received quick support from the special U.N. Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi. He said the United Nations favors the presence of international peacekeepers throughout Afghanistan.

"I think that the secretary-general of the United Nations has consistently pleaded for an extension or an expansion of the International Security Force," Mr. Brahimi said. "From what we see on the ground, we think that this will not require masses of soldiers. It will not cost a lot of money and it will not be dangerous."

A U.N. document prepared for the meeting says Afghans need many things in addition to security. It notes almost one-third of the population is dependent on some form of emergency assistance.

U.N. officials say they need almost $400 million during the next few months to carry out urgently needed humanitarian and rehabilitation projects in Afghanistan.