Brahimi urges funding for Afghan Interim Authority

“We have said before this new Administration needs to pay salaries to its employees, they have not been paid for the past six months and salaries are also needed for the next six months,” said Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi. “To pay salaries you need cash,” Mr. Fawzi told reporters in Kabul.Referring to the Start-Up Fund created for that purpose, Mr Fawzi said that despite some pledges, “very little cash” had come through. “It is time for the international community to stop talking and to start delivering help; in particular the Afghan Authority is counting on the international community to help pay salaries, and that help is not coming as fast as it should,” he said.Established following talks in Bonn last month among various Afghan factions, the Start-Up Fund sought $20 million, of which some $17 million were pledged and $3 million received.Mr. Fawzi also reported on meetings held over the weekend between Mr. Brahimi and members of Afghan civil society, the Interim Administration and the diplomatic community in Kabul. These included talks with the United States Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, the Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Sultan Ayub Khan, and the Chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.Also this weekend, Mr. Brahimi attended the inauguration of the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, where Mr. Ayub Khan announced a contribution of $100 million towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Mr. Brahimi expressed his satisfaction to see Pakistan “resuming business in Afghanistan,” which would help the Kabul authorities to turn a new page in their history – one of progress, reconstruction and peace.

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