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Old November 19th, 2001, 08:04 AM
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Question Is This Aid Justified?

India promises more aid for Afghanistan

NEW DELHI: India promised on Monday to add to the $100 million it has already announced for relief and rehabilitation efforts in war-torn Afghanistan.

"India has pledged $100 million towards the rehabilitation and reconstruction effort in post-conflict Afghanistan," Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said at a ceremony to honour United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson. This is only a beginning," he added.

Besides the financial assistance, India last month sent 40 tonnes of emergency medical supplies including antibiotics and surgical equipment. Recently, India also acknowledged officially for the first time that it was supplying weapons to the Northern Alliance in its battle against the Taliban.

In his speech, Vajpayee said the restoration of infrastructure and the provision of basic amenities would become priorities in Afghanistan once the US-led strikes came to an end.
This would require "massive external assistance... consisting not only of funding but also of institution building and human resource development," he said.

"The four million Afghan refugees who have fled their country over the past two decades should be encouraged to return with some guarantee of physical and economic security," said Vajpayee.

"Otherwise the economic strains and social tensions can create fresh political instability in the region," he added. The reconstruction of Afghanistan would require the efforts of "countries in the region, of developed countries, of non-governmental agencies and of UN agencies," the premier said.

Vajpayee condemned the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, widely believed to have been masterminded by Saudi dissident millionaire Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.

"The establishment of a stable democratic and secular regime in Afghanistan would be the most fitting reply to the terrorists who conceived and masterminded destruction from the soil of that country," Vajpayee said.

Vajpayee however warned that the war against terrorism launched by the US-led international coalition, "will be a long and difficult campaign, requiring close cooperation and the determined political will of the international community."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/a..._id=1023090913
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