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US Promises Millions in Education Aid to Afghanistan - 2002-03-16


President Bush has pledged to send 10-million textbooks to Afghanistan this year to help schoolchildren of the war-torn nation.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, the president said more than four-million texts in Pashto and Dari (languages) are already awaiting Afghan boys and girls, many of whom will enter classrooms for the first time when schools reopen next week.

Mr. Bush said his administration has placed a central focus on education in the rebuilding of Afghanistan. He praised education as the pathway to progress, especially for women. He noted that families of educated women are more likely to be healthy and well-nourished.

President Bush also praised American children who so far have raised four-and-a-half-million dollars to buy materials for Afghan schools.

In a related effort, the United States has donated thousands of books from the former American Cultural Center in Afghanistan to Kabul University. In a ceremony at the institution's library (Saturday), Kabul University chancellor Mohammad Akbar Popal welcomed the gift of 20-thousand books, saying the library is the heart of the university.

Afghanistan's minister of higher education Sharif Faez noted that for more than 20 years the university library has had only Russian and Arab texts filled with what he said were outdated ideas. He also stressed his country's desire to be part of the international effort to combat extremism and terrorism.

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