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Brahimi heads to Kabul as UN seeks funds for transitional Afghan authority

Brahimi heads to Kabul as UN seeks funds for transitional Afghan authority

The chief United Nations envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, headed to Kabul today as United Nations efforts to fund the political transition in the war-ravaged country continued to gain momentum.

Mr. Brahimi, who is Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, will arrive in the Afghan capital in time to attend the scheduled handover of power to the country's new Interim Authority, which will benefit from a new fund set up by the UN.

The world body is seeking approximately $20 million for the new UN Afghan Interim Authority Fund, according to Julia Taft, Assistant Administrator and Director for the Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

"Unfortunately, the Taliban have taken away all the money - there's virtually no money to manage the government structure of Afghanistan," Ms. Taft told a press briefing today at UN Headquarters in New York. "We've notionally established about a $20 million level for this Fund."

She said UNDP would manage the disbursement of money from the Fund "under the guidance of Mr. Brahimi in consultation with the Government."

"Because this is an Interim Authority, this is an interim measure," she added. "Obviously, later on, the Government itself will probably assume greater responsibility when it gets donor funding."

According to UNDP, the Fund will be used to cover administrative costs and essential rehabilitation of administrative facilities. The money will also support the implementation of special responsibilities outlined in the Bonn Agreement, which paved the way for the political transition, as well as teachers' salaries to ensure that schools can re-open in March 2002. The fund is not, however, meant for general recovery and reconstruction activities.