U.S. pledges to strength Afghan gov't district administrations

14:38, April 11, 2010      

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The United States on Saturday pledged to provide 40 million U.S. dollars to Afghan government in an effort to boost government capability especially in districts with weak administrative institutions.

"Today's announcement of District Delivery Program (DDP) represents a generally new way of working in deeper partnership and more fundamental respect for Afghan partners,"the General Administrator of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Rajiv Shah said before inking the agreement here with Afghan Minister for Finance Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal.

He also said that the program will provide critical services including education and health. "First we designed this program together after listening priorities from Afghan people, from district leaders and governors, "he said, adding "it will focus on building sub-national governance and developing capacity in all levels."

Zahkilwal also said that this fund will be used within two years from now on and the aim of District Delivery Program (DDP) is to train local officials and help them to reside in the districts where government institutions are weak.

The program will cover 48 districts in the restive south and southeastern provinces this year, the Minister added.

Speaking at the occasion, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry said, "this agreement reflexes the U.S. long term commitments to help government of Afghanistan to strength the government structure in all levels, central, provincial and local."

Announcing new pledge to Afghanistan took place amid tension between Kabul and Washington in the wake of President Hamid Karzai 's remarks over what he alleged the westerners of involvement Afghanistan last August presidential election on April 1, a claim rejected by both the United States and the United Nations.

The allegations have troubled White House and even warned to cancel President Karzai visit to Washington set for May 12 during President Barack Obama's brief tour to Kabul late last month.

Meantime, reports emanating from U.S. said that the Afghan president's visit is intact and he would visit Washington next month.



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