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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on the security situation in Afghanistan and its effect on humanitarian and reconstruction work. [130296]

The security situation in Afghanistan continues to be a major concern of the population, the Afghan government and the international community. In large areas of the south the aid community remains extremely constrained in providing humanitarian and development assistance because of the threats from a lack of reliable security.Attacks have been primarily concentrated in the south of the country. However, there have been other incidents elsewhere in the country, including incidents related to clashes between contending power holders. NGOs and the UN continue to work across the whole of Afghanistan, although their freedom of movement is constrained in some areas.To help to counter the increasing insecurity, four international joint civil-military provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) have been established in Mazar-e Sharif, Bamiyan, Kunduz and Gardez with four more planned to be operational before the end of this year in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat and Charikar. The PRTs are designed to bring stability to the regions and facilitate the reconstruction effort of the Afghan Administration, UN and NGOs

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how much of the money pledged the Government of Afghanistan has received; and how much money his Department has given to Afghanistan. [130297]

International donors meeting in Tokyo 21 to 22 January 2002 pledged more than US$1.8 billion to rebuild Afghanistan in 2002 which has been disbursed, and US$4.5 billion over five years.

DFID have given £131million to Afghanistan since November 2001. The joint DFID, MOD and FCO Global Conflict Prevention Pool has also given £16 million.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development if he will make a statement on attacks on non-governmental organisations workers in Afghanistan. [130299]

Aid workers and relief organisations can be seen as soft targets by those seeking to undermine efforts to rebuild and bring stability.It is with much regret that in the last month two workers of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, a Mercy Corps driver and four members of the Danish Committee to Aid Afghan Refugees have been killed in Afghanistan.I greatly admire the way in which, despite the difficult conditions under the present security situation, non-governmental organisations are continuing to provide assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable Afghans.