(AFP) – Mar 25, 2008
BERLIN (AFP) — Germany dismissed allegations by aid groups that it had provided less than two-thirds of the aid it pledged for Afghanistan's reconstruction since the fall of the Taliban.
"Afghanistan can trust Germany as a partner," Overseas Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said Tuesday.
She said Germany was the fourth biggest bilateral donor of aid to the war-ravaged nation, pledging 900 million euros (1.4 billion dollars) for the period 2002 to 2010.
Of that pledge, she said 76 percent of the funds were already in the pipeline for Afghanistan by the end of 2007.
"We cannot explain how these allegations came about," foreign ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger told a regular government news conference, adding that his ministry had paid 97 percent of the funds pledged to Afghanistan in recent years.
Aid agencies reported Tuesday that Western countries had failed to deliver 10 billion dollars, or 40 percent, of promised aid to Afghanistan and said two-thirds of what does arrive bypasses the Afghan government.
Meanwhile about 40 percent of assistance returns to donor nations as corporate profits and high consultant costs, according to a report by the Agency Coordinating Body For Afghan Relief (ACBAR) of aid groups.
The international community has pledged 25 billion dollars to Afghanistan since 2001, when the extremist Taliban government was toppled in a US-led invasion, according to the report.
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