Global perspective Human stories

Funds needed to rebuild Afghan army, police, Brahimi says at Geneva donor meeting

Funds needed to rebuild Afghan army, police, Brahimi says at Geneva donor meeting

Lakhdar Brahimi
The United Nations top envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, was in Geneva today to attend a meeting of donors to discuss rebuilding the country's army and police force, which he said could cost "hundreds of millions of dollars."

While actual cost figures would be released tomorrow, an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 former combatants needed help to reintegrate into society, said Mr. Brahimi, the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The police force and military also had to be built up from scratch, given the level of destruction in the country.

Although many countries were reluctant to contribute towards the army, the security situation in Afghanistan depended on that - it was "vital, indispensable and urgent," Mr. Brahimi told a press briefing. He said that donors could earmark money from such sources as the Tokyo process, referring to an international conference in January when more than $4.5 billion was pledged to help the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Mr. Brahimi said the Afghans were doing their best to maintain security outside of Kabul, which is patrolled by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). He said he had gone to Herat – where the local police had been reasonably good – and Kandahar – where the curfew had been lifted – noting that overall the situation seemed to be improving.

The Special Representative said that the establishment of the Loya Jirga would usher in a new political process, which could make the situation fragile. However, he did not expect the country to lapse into chaos should additional troops not be forthcoming. The will for peace was strong and the combatants were tired of fighting, he said.