KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Pleading for more money, the United Nations on Thursday blamed a decade of "shameful neglect" by the world for Afghanistan's descent into a breeding ground for international terrorists.
U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said that of the $1.2 billion promised this year by dozens of governments, $890 million has been spent -- and much more is needed.
Afghanistan is still considered a threat to world peace, he said. "But let us not forget that it was the international community's shameful neglect of Afghanistan in the 1990s that provided fertile ground for terrorists."
Afghanistan's infrastructure has been ravaged by war. Vast neighborhoods of Kabul lie in ruins, destroyed by bitter factional fighting between 1992 and 1996. A four-year drought has decimated herds and reduced farming regions to wasteland.
Following the collapse of the Taliban regime last November, more than 1.4 million refugees returned to Afghanistan. Afghanistan's fragile government can barely cope with the influx, as it struggles to extend its control beyond the capital and impose security in lawless regions.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees warns that nearly one million people could face severe hardship this winter.
"The international community has to follow through on its commitment, otherwise Afghan people will lose hope. And desperation breeds violence," Almeida e Silva said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.