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Finance Minister Says Afghanistan Wants Aid, Not Loans

19 April 2005 -- Afghanistan's finance minister says his country would quickly run into debt trouble if it had to borrow money to rebuild its infrastructure. He said that instead, it needs more international grants.

Anwar al-Haq Ahadi said during a visit to Washington today that Kabul's debt sustain ability level is very low, and it cannot borrow a large amount.

He did not give detailed debt figures.

But he also said that more of the $13 billion in foreign aid already pledged to the country should be directed to state coffers so that the government can take on tasks now done by UN and nongovernmental organizations.

Ahadi said Kabul had made headway recovering from 25 years of war but that more needed to be done.

And he said that if Afghanistan is to be rescued from being a failed state, it must pay attention to infrastructure to enable the private sector to invest and to employ people.