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Tom Koenigs, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan

Tuesday 28 August 2007

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KabulPress.org: Why not put fighting and illiteracy as a top priority in the country because when you fight with illiteracy you can fight with security problems and ensure the continued security in the country. You know that the military actions are not permanent solutions because in the future we wont have the assistance of the international community and troops in the country, so if we fight with illiteracy in the country we can ensure the security forever in the country.

Tom Koenigs, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan:

I certainly put capacity development in the first place of the development aid. It has been one of the main successes of the new government and the international community in their support to have so many schools built and so many classes built. I think the effort of fighting the illiteracy beyond the schools are super important. In the south quite a number of schools are attacked. One of the threats of the Taliban is to return to illiteracy and a lack of schools for girls. That is what people definitely don’t want and that is why wherever a school is burnt the international community and the government try and reestablish it as soon as possible. If we look at the statistics we have on average one attack everyday on a school in Afghanistan. That shows us that we have to deal with both, the security situation and the educational situation. I agree that the role of the community in defending their school, their institutions of education is very important. This is one element of the recommendation that we, the international community, and the Afghan government should much more cooperate with the local authorities, the local Shuras, the community. So the defense against the Taliban is not only military but a multi-faceted, multi-area effort and to having a long term goal that every Afghan has a right to be able to write and to read.

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