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Britain pledges £750m to uplift projects

AT-KABUL: The British government committed on Saturday to provide £750 million to help improve health, education and security, under a major new funding announcement.

The Independent newspaper reports the money would be handed over three years and would have a particular focus on helping women and girls in “the war-ravaged country”.

“The UK’s presence in Afghanistan over the last decade has helped improve security and prevent it from once again becoming a base of operations for global terrorists that would threaten the streets of Britain,” the paper quoted British international development secretary Priti Patel as saying.

“We have improved the lives of Afghans significantly – with millions more children in schools, better healthcare, and greater prosperity. But huge challenges remain – not least the continuing threat from the Taliban.”

She said the amount would be allocated from the aid budget to Afghanistan between 2017 and 2020 to help create a more stable country and improve people’s lives – particularly for women and girls.

Patel asserted the funding would contribute to the urgent UN flash appeal to help protect internally displaced people who have fled their homes and clear land mines from areas where people live.

The Director of Communications Paul McCann said: “Decades of conflict have bequeathed Afghanistan a very large mines and explosive remnants of war problem, so this announcement from the UK government is very welcome. It builds on Britain’s strong commitment to mine clearance around the world.”

“With funding Afghanistan can be made mine-free. Already around 80 per cent of the country has been cleared-the job can be finished,” he said.

“Mines and other explosive remnants of war maim and kill boys and girls, men and women and hold back development. This is very good news for the people of Afghanistan.”

Head of Afghan Aid Chris Kinder said: “We know through over 30 years of experience that this kind of sustained funding is essential to reach the most vulnerable individuals.”

“The program has so far reached over 14,000 women,” he said.

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