Donor meeting on reform of Afghanistan security sector successful Brahimi says

Mr. Brahimi, who as Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative leads the newly set up UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA), said Afghanistan would require millions of dollars to establish some 60,000 armed forces, an air force of 8,000 and approximately 12,000 border guards.”We are talking about $235 million for the current year,” he observed, adding that some of the costs would not recur, such as those related to refurbishing barracks. “Afghans are impatient, very understandably – we all are because the country, which has been neglected so dramatically for 23 years, needs everything today not tomorrow,” he told reporters at a briefing following the donors meeting. “That impatience is legitimate and understandable,” he added. “Progress is [being] made but a lot remains to be done.”In another development, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today signed a key agreement with the Governments of Iran and Afghanistan paving the way for the voluntary return of Afghans across the border between the two countries.High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers hailed the text, calling it “a solid, detailed document” which would allow Afghans to take home all of their belongings and savings, maximizing the prospects for success. “Most important of all,” he added, “it stresses that the return should be voluntary.”In nearly 30 articles, the agreement covers a wide range of legal and operational matters affecting returning refugees, both while they are still in Iran and once they have returned to Afghanistan. It formalizes UNHCR’s role in monitoring the optional nature of the return, and guarantees the agency’s free access to Afghans on both sides of the border.

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