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    Russia is ready to help reconstruct Afghanistan, but it is up to Western countries to come up with the funds, a Russian newspaper reported on Wednesday, quoting Russia's envoy to NATO.

    Russia is ready to help reconstruct Afghanistan, but it is up to Western countries to come up with the funds, a Russian newspaper reported on Wednesday, quoting Russia's envoy to NATO.

    The respected Kommersant business daily said more than 140 industrial facilities and pieces of infrastructure built in Afghanistan by Soviet specialists were candidates for reconstruction using Russian expertise.

    "We consider that civil construction projects are the most effective way to fight insurgents. This gives Afghanistan the opportunity to develop a normal independent economy," Dmitry Rogozin said, adding that Russia would put forward the initiative at an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday.

    The diplomat said countries "that have a lot of money and want to help Afghanistan, but cannot send soldiers" should provide funds for the country's reconstruction.

    "Even mousetrap cheese is not free in times of crisis. So, financing of these projects is a question for the international community," he said, adding that Russia's Western partners should decide how much money should be provided by each country.

    Soviet engineers were involved in constructing a total of 142 industrial and infrastructure facilities in Afghanistan in 1952-1988, with funds provided by the Soviet government, the paper said. The Pul-i-Kumri hydropower plant on the Kunduz River, the Naglu dam on the Kabul River and a nitrogen fertilizer plant in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif are among the facilities, as well highways, power lines, and gas and oil pipeline networks.

    According to Russian expert estimates, the facilities accounted for more than 60% of Afghanistan's GDP in 1970-1980.

     

    MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti)

     

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