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World Bank Urges Afghan Donors Not To Bypass Government --> Afghan infrastructure remains highly underdeveloped (courtesy R. Kober) PRAGUE, 23 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The World Bank is calling on international donors to direct more of their aid through Afghanistan's government channels.

The international financial institution said in a report today that such a move would help ensure fiscal sustainability and support the country's long-term development.

The document noted that around three-quarters of external aid is currently channeled outside the country's own budget.

World Bank country director for Afghanistan, Alastair McKechnie, said in a statement that the simple challenge of keeping track of projects over which it has no control and often little knowledge strains government capacity and undermines its authority.

The document was released ahead of a two-day conference in London that begins on 31 January, at which Afghanistan's foreign partners are expected to reaffirm their support for the country's development.

(with additional AFP reporting)
Afghanistan's Musical Revival

BACK IN THE GROOVE Decades of war and the Taliban's five-year ban on music took their toll on Afghan classical music. Musicians have been trying to resuscitate the art since the end of Taliban rule. But they face serious economic and artistic challenges -- including the threat of possible attack by Taliban fighters if they perform in provincial areas...(more)


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