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Afghanistan eyes reconstruction

[ 2011-05-11 11:04]     字号 [] [] []  
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Visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul said on Tuesday his country is willing to work with the international community to promote national reconciliation and reconstruction.

The statement came amid mounting pressure on the United States to withdraw its troops from the region after the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2.

Rassoul, the first high-ranking Afghan official to visit China since President Hamid Karzai paid his fourth visit last year, was on a four-day trip, which highlighted the growing relations between the two neighbors.

The Afghan government is working to improve its governance capability to push forward national reconciliation and peaceful reconstruction, said Rassoul when meeting his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

China will continue to support Afghanistan's efforts to safeguard its national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and its peaceful reconstruction, Yang said.

Rassoul also met Vice-Premier Li Keqiang late on Tuesday.

China is a partner in international efforts to support Afghanistan's reconciliation and reconstruction, such as in building schools, hospitals, roads and waterworks.

Almost a decade after US forces entered Afghanistan, it now has more than 100,000 troops stationed in the country, costing at least $100 billion a year. A report released on Tuesday by British charity Oxfam said the major problem facing Afghanistan was whether its security forces were capable of taking over from foreign forces by the end of 2014.

Under a plan agreed at a NATO summit in Lisbon late last year, NATO-led forces will begin a gradual handover of security responsibilities to Afghan forces from July.

Seven areas have been identified to take part in the first stage of the process. Under the plan, all foreign combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

According to US Defense Department figures, there are currently about 150,000 foreign troops in the country, and there are plans to increase the number of local troops and police from 285,000 to 305,000 by October.

The killing of the al-Qaida chief has made the security situation in the region more intense, but in the long run, the planned withdrawal of troops becomes more feasible, experts said.

After bin Laden's death, al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan threatened to retaliate.

"This will have a negative impact on Afghanistan's security, which may worsen in the coming weeks," said Dong Manyuan, deputy director of China Institute of International Studies.

"Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, the US has a good reason to withdraw its troops from that country," said Niu Xinchun, a US studies specialist at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.


1) Who did Afghan’s Foreign Minister meet with while visiting China?

2) How many foreign troops are in Afghanistan according to the US?

3) When are they scheduled to have fully withdrawn?


1) Yang Jiechi

2) 150,000

3) July 2014


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Afghanistan eyes reconstruction

Afghanistan eyes reconstruction

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.