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U.S. Ambassador Says Progress Made in Afghanistan

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan says progress has been made.

Washington, D.C., March 10, 2005 - U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, told the Voice of America (VOA) that 97 percent of heavy weaponry in Afghanistan had been collected and 75 percent of the private militias had been de-mobilized and returned to civilian life.

During an Afghan Service radio call-in program, Dr. Khalilzad said that Afghanistan faces four major challenges-security, upcoming parliamentary elections, reconstruction, and the war against drugs. He added that progress has been made in Afghanistan and that the United States has doubled its non-military assistance this year to $5 billion.

Dr. Khalilzad told listeners that the United States is providing $700 million for the war against drugs in Afghanistan, $3.6 billion for reconstruction, $10 billion for the military budget, and $1.2 billion for Afghanistan's regular budget.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including Dari and Pashto, the two main languages spoken in Afghanistan.

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