Tags: Bush: | U.S. | Will | Rearm | Afghanistan

Bush: U.S. Will Rearm Afghanistan

Monday, 28 January 2002 12:00 AM

In Kandahar, Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan soldiers raided a hospital and killed six al-Qaeda terrorists, and 14 U.S. soldiers were injured when a helicopter made a "hard landing."

And in the capital, Kabul, a senior official said the interim government expected $1.8 billion annually in international aid over the next decade.

"Today, peacekeepers from around the world are helping provide security on the streets of Kabul. The United States will continue to work closely with these forces and provide support for their mission," Bush said during a Rose Garden news conference. "We will also support programs to train new police officers and to help establish and train an Afghanistan national military."

Bush and Karzai met for the first time since the Afghan leader assumed the leadership of his country, the focus of the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, in December.

Bush called the decision to train the Afghan military and police forces "a significant change in policy" and said the United States was committed to building a lasting partnership with Afghanistan. He said the United States wanted to help the Afghan government provide the security that is the foundation for peace. But the administration has said repeatedly that U.S. troops would not be part of a peacekeeping force.

Bush also announced an additional $50 million in aid to the Afghan government in rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. That amount comes after the U.S. promise in Tokyo to provide $297 million this year to help leaders rebuild Afghanistan's agricultural sector, health care and education system. The United States will provide $223 million in previously frozen Afghan assets to Karzai's government.

In Kandahar, a U.S. CH-47 Chinook helicopter made a "hard landing" Monday on a bomb-pocked airstrip in the dark, injuring 14 U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division.

The accident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. EST Monday near Khost, close to the eastern border of Afghanistan, according to U.S. Central Command. The helicopter was extensively damaged.

Col. Frank Wiercinski said the soldiers received medical treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.

The soldiers were taking part in an air assault combat operation.

A Pentagon official blamed a "brown-out" for the accident. A brown-out occurs when the helicopter's rotors stir up so much dust from the ground it can no longer get enough airlift to remain in flight.

Also in Kandahar, a joint team of U.S. and Afghan soldiers raided a hospital and killed six al-Qaeda terrorists holed up in a ward for six weeks.

Afghan officials had been trying to persuade the six to surrender ever since the Taliban authority in Kandahar collapsed more than a month ago.

The guerrillas had refused their offers for a peaceful surrender and a fair trial and instead demanded that they be allowed to escape.

When Kandahar's new governor, Gul Agha, turned down their request, they decided to fight till death.

Five Afghan guerrillas were reported injured in the assault, which lasted for about 12 hours.

U.S. Army Maj. A.C. Roper told journalists that the U.S. military took part in the assault at the request of the Afghan military.

In Kabul, Afghanistan's Reconstruction Minister Amin Faraq told United Press International his government expected $1.8 billion annually in international aid over the next decade.

Faraq said the amount his country received would be subject to review and renegotiation annually between the Afghan regime and representatives of other countries "as the situation in Afghanistan develops.

"The aid package for Afghanistan is part of a long-term process. The international community has done its duty, and it's now up to us to prove that we can use the money wisely," he said. Faraq is to be in Washington this week to meet with officials of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as members of the Bush administration's economic team.

He hopes to present the interim government's first budget on his return to Kabul. "Our economy has to prove that it is capable of absorbing the aid we are receiving," he said.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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In Kandahar, Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan soldiers raided a hospital and killed six al-Qaeda terrorists, and 14 U.S. soldiers were injured when a helicopter made a hard landing. And in the capital, Kabul, a senior official said the interim government expected $1.8...
Bush:,U.S.,Will,Rearm,Afghanistan
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2002-00-28
Monday, 28 January 2002 12:00 AM
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