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Japan Makes Significant Contributions to Rebuilding Afghanistan

Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari met his Japanese counterpart Koichi Nakagawa to discuss Japan's reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan on February 9, 2009. Haidari praised the strong ties between Afghanistan and Japan, and conveyed to Mr. Nakagawa the deep gratitude of the Afghan government and people for Japan’s firm commitment to the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"We greatly appreciate your country's constructive and consistent role in helping build peace in Afghanistan from the very beginning," Haidari told Mr. Nakagawa. In addition, Haidari praised Japan as one of Afghanistan’s major donors, who not only delivers on its aid pledges but also ensures that its aid monies are effectively spent to make maximum impact on the overall reconstruction and long-term development of Afghanistan.

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Japan has pledged a total of $2 billion in aid to Afghanistan. As of January 2009, Japan has disbursed $1.46 billion to help implement a range of key projects including road construction, airport improvements, law enforcement capacity building, disarmament of former combatants and militias, refugee reintegration, and school construction, among others.

The Japanese Parliament recently appropriated $285 million to be disbursed by March 2009 to assist Afghanistan in three key areas: election support, counter-terrorism and security, and humanitarian assistance. The aid package will provide $125 million in timely contribution to the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOFTA), which finances training, equipping and salary payment of the Afghan National Police. The remainder of aid funds will support implementation of Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential election and humanitarian programs to assist the most vulnerable groups across the country.

Japan was the lead nation in supporting the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR). Between 2003 and 2005, almost 63,000 combatants were disarmed and nearly 35,000 light and medium weapons were collected in Afghanistan. Since completion of the DDR project, Japan has continued to support the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG), which has disbanded 467 illegally armed groups and collected almost 100,000 weapons in the country so far.

Over the coming years, Afghanistan will continue to need Japan's assistance in building central and local state institutions, considered key to the country’s long-term development. Japan's continued assistance could greatly benefit key sectors such as higher education, healthcare, judicial reform, and building of the Afghan National Police and National Army to address Afghanistan's human and protective security needs.

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