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Clinton announces $40 million for Afghan elections in August

By Moushumi Chakrabarty     Mar 31, 2009 in Politics
The US will foot part of Afghanistan’s election bill this August, up to $40 million, said Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. She is now attending an international conference on Afghanistan at The Hague, Netherlands.
According to a report on, she said, “We do not support or oppose any candidate. We want to ensure the elections themselves are going to have legitimacy and credibility.” At the moment, at least 258,000 voters are registered to vote on the 20th August elections, and 41 percent of these are women, officials said. Afghan President Hamid Karzai will stay on as leader of the nation up to the elections even though his term ends in May.
Clinton’s task at the conference is to convince allies to invest in Afghanistan with a view to restoring peace and stability in the country. That looks like an uphill battle as allies and neighbours are increasingly weary of war and the no-end-in-sight landscape of the Afghan question.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a report in early March had stated clearly that the NATO troops "are never going to defeat the insurgency." Since then, in an interview with Fox News, he explained his statement: "We've got to see a state where the Afghan government can handle its own day-to-day security. I just think it would be unrealistic to suggest we're going to eliminate every last domestic insurgent in Afghanistan. Certainly the history of the country would indicate that's not a very realistic objective. I think we have to have realistic objectives."
Meanwhile, the U.S. has pledged to send 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Canada has set 2011 as the pullout date for its troops from Afghanistan. Netherlands has also set a deadline for troop removal. As the US steps up to offer more to Afghanistan, it expects its allies to do more. The reported James Jones, a retired four-star general and former supreme allied commander at NATO, as saying: “As America does more, we will ask others to do their part.”
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