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For immediate release
July 25, 2003
Contact:
NPR: Jenny Lawhorn,
202-744-2802
jlawhorn@npr.org

U.S. Ambassador Confirms "Accelerated Effort" in Afghanistan

William B. Taylor Discusses Greater Role for U.S. in Afghan Government in Exclusive Interview on NPR's All Things Considered

WASHINGTON -- NPR News has learned that the U.S. is retooling its policy toward Afghanistan, reportedly sending senior U.S. advisors straight into Afghan ministries. Ambassador William B. Taylor, the newly appointed U.S. coordinator for Afghanistan, confirmed advisors could be sent to work in Afghan government ministries in an "accelerated effort" to rebuild the country. He discussed these plans with NPR's Jacki Lyden in a report broadcast August 2 on NPR's All Things Considered.

"Part of this acceleration will include helping the government of Afghanistan take advantage of the international assistance that is coming in," said Taylor. "One of the things we are considering is to provide senior level advisors that can work with the government of Afghanistan in each of the ministries, both at a senior level and a the technical level, to help develop the capacities to provide services. So in the health ministry to provide healthcare services; similarly in the ministry of education to work with that minister to help build schools and train teachers. So, yes, part of what we are thinking about is both people and, again, resources."

NPR's Jacki Lyden asked Taylor whether there was a sense that U.S. efforts thus far have been incomplete, that matters in Afghanistan stand half-finished, that the Taliban is again resurgent, and that there is a danger of things getting out of control.

"I think there is the sense that a reinvigorated policy and reinvigorated effort on the part of the United States as well as the international community-again it's not just the United States, we are going to see our allies can join us in this acceleration-but there is the sense that this time is a good time to refocus attention," said Taylor. "There will be decisions and announcements made over the next several weeks."

Barnett Rubin, an Afghanistan expert and professor at New York University, who is currently in Kabul, said reports of a new U.S. aid package and a U.S. policy shift are gradually leaking out in the Afghan capital. "Apparently as part of this increase in aid, they are going to send out 15 ambassador-level advisors and 200 to 250 advisors to the Afghan government," said Rubin. "They are calling it here the 'Bremerization' of Afghanistan," he said, referring to the U.S. civilian administration in Iraq. Rubin said this could create "a kind of colonial administration here in Afghanistan, which will not be effective, which will be resented a great deal and undermine attempts to build up the Afghan institutions."

Audio from the August 2 program will be available after 9 p.m. ET at www.npr.org/programs/atc.


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