By Ayaz Gul
The United Nations says Afghanistan has made remarkable progress since the fall of the Taleban government three years ago. But it warns the rebuilt nation could fall back into chaos unless more is done to improve the lives of Afghanistan's citizens.
The first-ever U.N. Human Development Report on Afghanistan says that economic growth in the war-shattered country has been "spectacular" under the new government of President Hamid Karzai. It says access to education is on the rise and the free media are flourishing.
But the report says that violence, insecurity and poverty still plague millions of Afghans, and private militias still control large areas where narcotics production is at record levels. According to the findings of the wide-ranging U.N.-sponsored report, Afghanistan remains the world's sixth-least developed country.
Associate administrator of the U.N. development program, Zephirin Diabre, released the report in Kabul Monday with a senior Afghan cabinet minister, Haneef Atmar, the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
Mr. Diabre says the study will help Afghans to identify and seek solutions of problems their country has been facing in the wake of decades of hostilities. He says that international supporters of the Afghan government need to ensure security of Afghans and take a broad and long-term view of the country's development.
"We should not be from now on talking about how many kilometers of roads we have constructed, how many schools we have built, how many clinics. We should now be talking about how secure the Afghan people feel and how secure they have become," he said.
Minister Atmar says that his country has been on the path of recovery from the effects of war and conflict. But he says Afghanistan still needs full attention of the world community.
"This report is a timely reminder of a key role that Afghanistan will and must play in global discussions about development as a nation that has achieved much in recent years but requires intense supports if the gains are to be consolidated," he said.
The report says that the United States is spending around one billion dollars per month on its anti-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan. But the report says much less is being spent to curb poverty that can breed militancy.
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