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U.S. Pledges Aid to Afghanistan - 2001-10-05


President Bush says the United States is sending 320-million dollars' worth of food and medical supplies to help the impoverished people of Afghanistan survive the approaching winter.

Mr. Bush says the pledge of humanitarian aid "is our way of saying, that while we firmly and strongly oppose the Taleban regime, we are friends of the Afghan people."

Years of civil war and drought have made food supplies extremely scarce in Afghanistan. The U-S military says it is ready to begin making air-drops of supplies. However, Pentagon officials say fighter jets may have to escort cargo planes on humanitarian missions, because there are concerns that the Taleban could try to shot down any U-S aircraft.

The United Nations has called on the nations of the world to contribute nearly 600-million dollars to the Afghan relief effort. In addition to the 320-million dollars pledged by the United States, Japan said (on Thursday) that it will provide 120-million dollars in assistance.

The United States says its aid contributions are intended to help both villagers in Afghanistan and the large population of Afghan refugees crowded in camps near the country's borders.

President Bush says the aid contributions are part of the international coalition the United States is building to oppose terrorism. "This is not a war between Christianity or Judaism and Islam," the president said Thursday (during an appearance at the State Depoartment in Washington).

Mr. Bush said the effort to defeat terrorism "is a war between good and evil. ... We will stand strong on the side of good," the president said, "and we expect other nations to join us."

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