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NATO commander points out achievements, challenges in Afghanistan

2009-09-17 09:16 BJT

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VIENNA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- NATO deputy commander in Europe pointed out the real progress and challenges in Afghanistan here on Wednesday.

At a weekly session of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Wednesday, British Gen. John McColl, NATO's deputy supreme allied commander in Europe, said the international community has done a lot to help improve Afghan people's lives since 2002.

According to him, healthcare coverage in the country has been increased from 8 percent to 85 percent of the population. More than 2,000 schools have been built or refurnished. The economy has experienced double-digit growth in GDP. Afghan security forces and police have been built up.

However, major challenges still remain, McColl said, including security issues in the south, narcotics and corruption. Thus "a long-term and continuing security presence" is "a prerequisite for development that Afghanistan so clearly needs", he said.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua