Conference discusses rebuilding Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A committee is to meet next month to determine which projects are needed to rebuild Afghanistan, representatives at an international conference agreed Tuesday.
Undersecretary of State Alan Larson called the conference a "roll-up-your-sleeves meeting that demonstrates to the people of Afghanistan the "international community is ready to help."
More than 20 countries and a number of international organizations participated in the hastily convened conference. The day-long conference, sponsored by the United States and Japan, concluded with a decision to create an international steering committee.
Composed of representatives from the United States, Japan, the European Union and Saudi Arabia, the panel is to meet next month in Europe and begin reviewing projects.
The committee should work with humanitarian and political efforts to get the nation functioning again, the conference attendees agreed.
Topics to be discussed next month include returning refugees; revitalizing agriculture; expanding education; repairing roads; assuring clean water; restoring electrical power; and creating employment opportunities.
Also, the Japanese government has agreed to host a meeting in January to discuss project proposals and to determine the level of resources needed.
U.S. officials expect the overall cost of the reconstruction effort will be in the billions of dollars over many years.
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