World leaders pledge $140 mn for Afghan reconciliation
London: World powers on Thursday pledged USD 140 million for the first year of an Afghan government plan to woo moderate Taliban fighters, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said.
"Today alone there have been over USD 140 million worth of commitments for the first year of the national reintegration programme and we are committed to seeing that through," Miliband said at the end of an international conference on Afghanistan in London.
Meanwhile, Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said that his country might need up to USD 1 billion to help reintegrate Taliban fighters into society.
Afghanistan required international funding for the reintegration plan, which aims to provide economic opportunities for rank-and-file Taliban who lay down their arms and return to their villages.
The Afghan government did not know exactly how much the plan would cost but it "would be peanuts compared to the costs of the war that we are engaged in Afghanistan", Zakhilwal said on the sidelines of a conference in London on the country`s future.
"It definitely will run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Initially ... we would expect it somewhere in the range of about USD 1 billion in the next three years or so," he said.
The money would be spent on creating job opportunities, rural development, giving a livelihood to the families of former insurgents and providing a secure environment, he said.
(With Agencies’ inputs)
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