EU Offers Afghanistan 600 Million-Euro Aid Package
Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta (file photo) (epa)
January 29, 2007 -- The European Union today announced an aid package to Afghanistan worth 600 million euros ($775 million) over the next four years.
The funding will go to healthcare, reform of Afghanistan's justice sector, and rural development, including alternatives to opium poppy production.
Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, who attended a meeting in Berlin with EU officials, insisted on the "need to stabilize the situation before terrorist groups can reform."
Opium In Afghanistan
An antidrug billboard in Kabul shows a skeleton hanging from an opium bulb (AFP)
OPIUM FARMING ON THE RISE Despite a nationwide program by the Afghan government to eradicate opium-poppy fields and offer farmers alternative crops, international experts say that the 2006 opium crop will be as much as 40 percent larger than the previous year's. Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world, and the source of as much as 90 percent of Europe's heroin.(more)