Japan promised an aid package Wednesday for Afghanistan worth million as part of efforts to disarm former combatants still threatening the security in the war-torn country.
The package was announced by Foreign Minister Taro Aso during a one-day international conference of donor countries and agencies in Tokyo.
“As part of the implementation of that pledged assistance, I am pleased to . . . offer about million in assistance to projects in fields such as the development of regional areas, improvement of security and antinarcotics,” Aso said in his address.
The aid focuses on financing development projects for rural areas. By providing locals with economic incentives, Japan wants to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a hotbed of terrorism and drug-trafficking.
The package is part of the 0 million in aid Japan pledged in London in January.
In his address, Aso praised the program on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, or DDR, as “another step forward” in Afghanistan’s efforts to achieve peace, stability and democracy.
“The successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of more than 60,000 troops of the former National Army within three years will serve as a model for the consolidation of peace after war,” Aso told the Second Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan.
Under the U.N.-backed DDR program, which began in October 2003 and ended in June, private armies across Afghanistan were disarmed.
Aso urged the global community to continue its assistance to Afghanistan in response to pressing challenges, including the ongoing Disbandment of Illegal Armed Group – program, which operates separately from the DDR.
“Without success in the DIAG process, neither the rule of law nor continued economic development can be achieved,” Aso said.
DIAG began last July and aims to disarm an estimated 125,000 militiamen operating in up to 1,200 illegal armed groups. As of May 15, a total of 999 armed groups had taken part in the DIAG program, which is also sponsored by the United Nations.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is taking part in the confab, which is jointly chaired by the Japanese and Afghan governments and the U.N.
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