Karzai meets several foreign ministers ahead of Afghan conference
Afghan President Hamid Karzai met Monday with several foreign ministers who arrived in Kabul for a major international meeting on Tuesday, the presidential palace said.
The president received the foreign ministers of Britain, India, Iran, New Zealand and Norway at his fortified palace to discuss the contents of the conference, Karzai's office said in a statement, dpa reported.
Later on Monday night, Karzai was also scheduled to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is also among nearly 40 foreign ministers to attend the event, it said.
Nearly 70 international representatives are to participate in the Kabul Conference, which will endorse new development projects and transfer more aid money and responsibility to Afghan administration.
The delegates, including representatives from 57 countries and 11 regional and international organizations are expected to deliberate and endorse 15 socio-economic development national priority programs drawn up by the Afghan government.
Karzai, who will co-chair the conference along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is expected to ask the delegates for 50 per cent of the nearly 13 billion dollars already pledged for reconstruction over the next two years to be channeled through Kabul.
Security was tightened around the capital city on Monday following a Taliban suicide attack on Sunday that killed three civilians and injured 45 others.
Several roads, including the one linking city's international airport to the conference venue remained closed before traffic. The government also declared Monday and Tuesday public holidays in Kabul.
Thousands of security personnel have been deployed around the city, while NATO military said t was ready to help with protection if asked. NATO helicopter were also on the patrol.
The ninth international conference on Afghanistan and first to be held inside the country has been touted by Afghan and Western officials as a chance for the government to win popular support for its pledges to rebuild the country and its economy.