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U.S, Afghanistan to spend $249 million on counternarcotic, other programs

By CNN Staff
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 2039 GMT (0439 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The U.S. State Department details deals with Afghanistan allocating $249 million
  • The funds will go to improving the justice system, developing secure jails, boosting security
  • Slashing opium poppy cultivation and other counternarcotic measures will also be funded

(CNN) -- Afghan and U.S. government officials formalized agreements Thursday for the spending of $249 million for joint counternarcotic, legal and law enforcement programs in the Southeast Asian nation.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Stephen G. McFarland and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawid Ludin signed the agreements, the U.S. State Department announced.

Among other projects, the funds will aim to promote "better governance in improving the administration of justice and enhanced rule of law, continuing the development of a safe, secure and humane corrections system; and increasing security through curtailment of the narcotics trade," the department said in a release.

Legal assistance bureaus will be set up with this money, and "violence against women" units will be established.

A chief focus is to bolster "drug demand-reduction programs in Afghanistan," as well as to reduce or eliminate poppy cultivation, the State Department said. The opium poppy can be used to make heroin and other drugs, and is considered a staple of insurgent funding.

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