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Donors Top U.N. Goal for Afghan Fund

October 07, 2001|From Reuters

GENEVA — Donor countries pledged funds for the United Nations' $584-million emergency appeal for Afghanistan, but officials said Saturday that the problem of distributing aid inside the country remains.

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Kenzo Oshima said countries promised $608 million during a two-day meeting of the U.N.-sponsored Afghan Forum, although some of the funds were for non-U.N. relief groups.

"This was not a pledging meeting, but many governments took the opportunity to outline their responses to the U.N. appeal," Oshima said.

The Afghan Forum includes donor countries, U.N. aid agencies and neighboring states such as Iran and Pakistan. It was set up before the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to deal with the Afghan refugee problem.

The United Nations has warned that Afghanistan, which is bracing for military strikes by the United States and its allies over the attacks, faces a humanitarian crisis of "stunning proportions."

Years of drought and two decades of armed conflict left millions of people dependent on international food aid even before Sept. 11.

The aid included $320 million earmarked for Afghanistan by President Bush, making the United States the largest single donor to the U.N. effort.

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