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Europe's Afghan engagement

Europe's Afghan engagement
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The foreign troop presence in Afghanistan may hit the headlines but reconstruction efforts are equally important for the country’s stability.

The dam project over the river Kunduz is such an example – paid for by the European Union, one of Afghanistan’s main contributors Europe’s already invested some eight billion euros between 2002 and 2010 and a further 700 million has been pledged. A substantial part of that money goes towards security. Germany is in charge of the training of police officers while Italy has responsibilty for judges and civil servants. Since 2002, Europe has been the biggest financial backer to the Afghan police. It has spent some 200-million euros and trained more than 18,000 officers. To establish the rule of law also means fighting against Afghanistan’s opium trade, which feeds corruption and crime. The British are in charge of the battle but the EU has also made an important contribution by investing in rural development projects to spread the growth of poppy seed substitutes. Between 2002 and 2006, Europe spent some 969-millions on various reconstruction projects and has since pledged an additional 700 million euros. It is undeniably a considerable financial, human and political effort on the part of the EU – although it does not always produce the expected results.