Emergency Grant Aid for the Program for Mine Clearance on the Trunk Road from Kandahar toward Herat in Afghanistan

February 24, 2004

  1. On February 24 (Tue), the Government of Japan decided to provide emergency grant aid of about 5.14 million dollars (about 545 million yen) to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement the program for mine clearance on the Trunk Road from Kandahar toward Herat in Afghanistan.

  2. As President Hamid Karzai made a political commitment to reconstruct Trunk Roads, Japan has been supporting the efforts of the Karzai administration by, for example, reconstruction of a road between Kabul and Kandahar together with the United States. The road opening ceremony was held at the end of last year. In response to a strong request from Afghanistan, Japan is planning to reconstruct a road between Kandahar and Herat with the U.S. Before this, Japan has decided to clear the route of landmines, which is an urgent and essential task to secure the safety of those engaged in the roadwork including Japanese aid workers.

  3. Afghanistan is a country suffering greatly from landmines. It is estimated that more than 10 million landmines are buried over an area of more than 800 square kilometers, and more than 300 people are killed or injured by landmines every month. It is vital therefore to clear landmines not only from a humanitarian point of view but as a prerequisite for Afghan reconstruction. Japan has been extending proactive assistance to Afghanistan for clearing landmines as one of the priority fields of assistance for the country's reconstruction because it contributes to establishing human security and consolidation of peace in Afghanistan.

  4. In Afghanistan, from December 2003 to January 2004, the Loya Jirga, a politically important process for drawing up a constitution, came to a successful end and the new constitution was established. At present, the Bonn Process is under way as part of the efforts to launch an official administration in June this year. The international community should unite to implement projects which will bring about tangible results of rehabilitation for the Afghan people, with a view to making this process proceed steadily.


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