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    Italy pledges 600m euros over next 3 years

    HERAT CITY (PAN): The Italian ambassador to Afghanistan on Tuesday said his country would provide 600 million euros (42.2 billion afs) in assistance to western Herat province for reconstruction and training Afghan forces over the next three years.

    Luciano Pezzotti, who arrived in Herat City late on Monday, told students of Herat University that most of the aid would go to reconstruction in Herat and training Afghan forces, according to the governor’s spokesman, Mohiuddin Noori.

    He told Pajhwok Afghan News Italy had provided $220 million last year for mega development projects in the province that borders Iran, where Pezzotti served as second commercial secretary at the Italian Embassy in Tehran.

    Noori quoted Pezzotti as telling students that their mission in Afghanistan was to tackle Al Qaeda and extremism and provide the people of Afghanistan with humanitarian assistance and ensure that the democracy in the war-torn country was flourishing.

    The envoy said his country would drawdown its troops from Afghanistan in consultation with the Kabul government, but the country would not halt its humanitarian assistance and training Afghans forces.

    Italy has 5,000 troops in Afghanistan, most of them deployed to Kabul and western provinces.

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