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Afghanistan to get $2 billion in U.S. gear
4. July 2006, 08:17

By Tini Tran, Associated Press
Kabul, Afghanistan- The United States said Monday that it was giving $2 billion worth of military weapons and vehicles to modernize Afghanistan's national army as the fledgling force contends with a resurgent Taliban resistance.

In a deadly reminder, a suicide attacker hit a checkpoint in the southern city of Kandahar, killing himself and a policeman and injuring six others. The blast occurred at a checkpoint near the governor's guesthouse, said police commander Agha Lala.

The attacker walked up to the checkpoint before blowing himself up, said Lala. Among the injured were three policemen and three bystanders.

More than 10,000 Afghan and coalition troops have been deployed in the south to hunt down rebels in a military campaign billed as the largest since the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001.

At the ceremony in Kabul, Maj. Gen. Robert Durbin said the military donation was in addition to the more than $2 billion the United States has already committed for military equipment and facilities to Afghanistan.

"The equipment on display today represents an additional $2 billion that the U.S. alone will provide . . . to continue with the equipping and building of the proper facilities and [to] continue to enhance the Afghan National Army to build toward the 70,000 force," Durbin said.

Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said about 200 Humvees and 2,000 assault rifles, the first part of the donation, will arrive by year's end. The $2 billion also covers the building of a national military command center.

A total of 2,500 Humvees and tens of thousands of M-16 assault rifles will be coming.

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