11 September 2001>News Stories>U.N. Pleads for More Aid for Afghanistan's New Government

U.N. Pleads for More Aid for Afghanistan's New Government

Mark Landler & Katharine Q. Seelye . NY Times . 15 January 2002

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 14 — With Afghanistan's interim government unable to pay its workers and foreign aid only trickling in, the United Nations made an impassioned plea today to foreign governments, asking them to increase their financial donations.

A spokesman for the United Nations, Ahmad Fawzi, said Afghanistan needed $100 million within a few days to pay six months of back salaries, as well as the next six months of wages, to its 235,000 employees. Less than $10 million has been given.

"The administration needs several million dollars tomorrow or there will be no country when the billions are ready," Mr. Fawzi said at a briefing here in the Afghan capital. "It is time for the international community to stop talking and start delivering help."

Afghanistan did win a promise of money from its neighbor, Pakistan, with whom it has had a thorny relationship, not least because Islamabad supported Taliban rule. Pakistan said today that it would donate $100 million to Afghanistan.

While diplomats here worked to rebuild the nation, American warplanes bombed a Qaeda training compound at Zawar Kili near the Pakistani border today for the 10th time in 11 days, but senior Pentagon officials said the operation was nearly complete.

Senior military officials said recent bombing at Zawar Kili had destroyed nearly 60 buildings, closed 50 cave entrances and demolished tanks and artillery equipment at the 9-square-mile complex which has been used by Al Qaeda to store equipment and train and hide soldiers moving into Pakistan. "It is now time to go look elsewhere," said Rear Adm. John D. Stufflebeem, the deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Senior military officials also said the Pentagon is reviewing plans to cut back on the fighter-jet patrols flying over New York City, Washington and, sporadically, 30 other American cities since Sept. 11.

The officials said the patrols have become an immense strain on crews, while also costing the Pentagon more than $100 million a month. Scaling the missions back, however, could run into opposition from local politicians who want to maintain a sense of security in their cities.

Senior military officials said the North American Aerospace Defense Command was preparing to recommend that the Pentagon scale back patrols over American cities, while increasing the number of aircraft on "ground alert."

As part of the Pentagon's desire to decrease its presence in Afghanistan, it was sending to Cuba those prisoners who could provide no further information regarding the war, Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley of the United States Central Command said today. "We don't want to be a long- term presence on the ground in Afghanistan," he said. "To put semipermanent detention facilities there doesn't pass the common-sense test." The United States is now holding 414 prisoners in Afghanistan.

Among the prisoners sent to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were an Australian, David Hicks, and at least one British citizen, whose identity has not been confirmed. A spokesman for the British Embassy said the prisoner had identified himself as British but had no passport.

As many as six other British citizens are believed to have been captured in Afghanistan, but it is not clear where they are being held. Six French citizens have also been captured, but a spokesman for the French Embassy said his government had not been told that any of them had been sent to Guantanamo.

All of the allies have expressed concern that their citizens not be exposed to the death penalty, which could be a complicating factor as the Pentagon figures out what to do with the prisoners. Victoria Clarke , a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, said that the United States had not yet begun interrogating the prisoners in Cuba, suggesting that specific charges could be some time away.

While international humanitarian organizations have complained that the prisoners are being caged in inhumane conditions, she insisted that they were being treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention, but also appropriately, given what is thought to be their capacity for violence. "You're talking about people who are incredibly dangerous — incredibly dangerous — who are willing to blow themselves up or do anything possible to hurt and kill others," Ms. Clarke said.

The international peacekeeping force is also taking shape more slowly than expected. German troops began joint patrols with Afghan soldiers in Kabul today. But the number of peacekeepers on the ground is only 1,100 of a planned total of 4,500.

A British Army spokesman, Maj. Guy Richardson, said the force would not reach full strength until mid-February, almost a month late. He did not explain the delay.

Call to Topple Iraqi Leader

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 — Increasing the pressure on the Bush administration to expand the war beyond Afghanistan, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2000, said the battle against terrorism would not be won until President Saddam Hussein of Iraq was toppled.

"The unique threat to American security by Saddam Hussein's regime is so real, grave and imminent that, even if no other nation were to stand with us, we must be prepared to act alone," said Mr. Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat who is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2004. He is also a co- sponsor in the Senate of legislation to finance opposition forces in Iraq.

"If we make it clear that we are prepared to act decisively against Saddam, I am convinced that many others will join us," he said in a speech at Georgetown University.