New Era Of Press Freedom In Afghanistan
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 (Bernama, Malaysia) -- Afghanistan, once ruled by the reclusive hardline Taliban regime, is now enjoying a new era of press freedom and freedom of speech unprecedented in the history of the war-ravaged country.
Its Deputy Information Minister, S. Agha Sancharanki, said that this progress was due to the strong commitment of President Hamid Karzai's government to press freedom and democratisation.
He said that currently there were some 300 publications comprising newspapers and magazines -- dailies, weeklies and monthlies.
These include four government-run newspapers, one of which, the Kabul Times, is in English.
On the broadcasting side, there are 50 private radio stations, 12 private television stations and a state-run TV station and radio station.
"In the post-Taliban era, the situation has changed dramatically...from a very close society to a very open one," Sancharanki told Bernama in an interview on the sidelines of the Senior Officials Meeting of the Sixth Conference of the Ministers of Information of Non-Aligned Countries (Cominac VI) here.
Under the rule of the Taliban, which was ousted by the US-led coalition in late 2001, television and radio and all forms of entertainment were banned and those found to own a TV or radio would be severely punished.
Women and girls were banned from going to school and joining the workforce.
The ouster of the Taliban was followed with the process of democracy -- the first direct presidential election late last year and the first parliamentary and provincial elections in 30 years last September.
Afghanistan was ranked 125th out of 166 countries this year in the annual Press Freedom index published last month by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, an international media watch group. Last year it ranked 97th.
Describing the flourishing of so many media as "extraordinary", Sancharanki said the Afghan government felt that the press and media played a prominent role in establishing a modern society and disseminating news and information to its 26 million population of various ethnicities such as Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek and who speak languages like Persian (Dari), Pashtu and Turkish besides 30 minor languages.
He said the government was keen to see a smaller media, maybe in the range of 30 or 40 publications, with a stronger footing and well-established as they would be more effective.
The growing Internet connection with clubs set up in many areas of the landlocked and mountainous country had enabled the masses to have access to news and information, he said.
Sancharanki said the government had proposed a media commission, among others, to overcome any shortfalls in the industry and to protect the rights of journalists in their course of their duty.
He said the government would like to see the international community, including Malaysia, assist in the development of the media in Afghanistan like providing training to Afghan print and broadcast journalists.
He said the state-run Bakhtar News Agency was also keen to establish links with the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama).
2 killed in car explosion in Southern Afghanistan
KABUL, Nov. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Two civilians were killed and an Army commander was injured in a car explosion in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province Saturday morning, a local official said.
"Today in Sangin district of Helmand, a car explosion left two persons in the car killed and a commander named Payanda Mohammad Khan injured," Haji Mohammad Wali, spokesperson of the provincial governor of Helmand told Xinhua.
"The investigation is still going on, and no one has been arrested so far," he added.
At the same time, Taliban's spokesperson Qari Yusuf Ahmadi claimed the responsibility for the car explosion and said the two killed were the commander's bodyguards.
Helmand, together with other three southern provinces Kandahar,Uruzgan and Zabul, have been known as the heartland of Taliban, and become the hotspot of the Taliban-linked attacks.
Taliban, vowed to continue Jihad or holy war until the withdrawal of all the US-led foreign troops from Afghanistan, intensified its attacks against Afghan and foreign troops. Over 1,500 people with majority of them being Taliban fighters have been killed in the Taliban-led insurgency since the beginning of this year. Enditem
Activists Blast U.S. on Prisons
Ex-Inmates, Rights Workers Gather to Apply New Pressure
By Kevin Sullivan Washington Post Saturday, November 19, 2005; Page A21
LONDON, Nov. 18 -- Human rights workers and 20 former inmates at Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. terror-suspect prisons abroad convened a conference here Friday to bring new pressure on Washington to end what they called systematic torture and unjustified detention.
"Torture should have been kept where it belonged, in the 16th century, instead of being imported into the 21st," said Irene Khan, secretary general of Amnesty International, which is co-hosting the meeting. Ten other foreign prisoners will testify by videotape, in what organizers call the largest gathering ever of former Guantanamo prisoners and prisoners' families.
The conference opens as the Bush administration is facing increasing criticism abroad over its open-ended detention of terror suspects. U.S. officials contend that the unique threat that international terror groups pose to the United States justifies continued operation of the prisons. Inmates are treated humanely, officials have said, and when reports of mistreatment surface, prompt legal action is taken against the perpetrators.
The White House has also been criticized because of a report in The Washington Post that the CIA has been interrogating top al Qaeda captives in a secret prisons in countries that at various times have included Thailand, Afghanistan and several in Eastern Europe.
At a news conference, Khan called for the European Union and the United Nations to launch an investigation into which countries are hosting the secret CIA prisons. "It's about time that this veil of secrecy is broken," she said.
On Friday, U.N. investigators formally canceled a scheduled visit to Guantanamo, citing U.S. officials' refusal to allow them to speak privately with detainees at the facility in Cuba. Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said here that speaking with detainees alone was the "minimum standard of objective fact-finding" and that U.N. officials could not conduct a meaningful assessment without doing so.
"The writ of international human rights does not stop at the gates of Guantanamo Bay," said Paul Hunt, a U.N. official who was denied U.S. permission to join the planned mission to Guantanamo.
A Department of Defense spokesman said by e-mail Friday that "the level of access that DOD provides to its detention facilities is unprecedented in a time of war." The department has provided access to the International Committee of the Red Cross, members of Congress and the news media and extended an invitation to the U.N. Special Rapporteurs, the spokesman noted.
This invitation, the spokesman wrote, was extended "in an effort to broaden understanding of U.S. detention operations and to demonstrate that detainees at Guantanamo are treated humanely."
One of the former prisoners at the conference is Moazzam Begg, 37, a British citizen who was arrested by U.S. forces at his home in Islamabad, Pakistan, in January 2002. By his account, he was held in Kandahar and Bagram, Afghanistan, as well as Guantanamo, before his release last January. Begg, who was never charged with a crime, said he was subjected to and witnessed "things that we would believe are out of a Nazi manual," including prisoners being sodomized with sticks.
In an interview and in a report prepared by his lawyers, Begg said that during his time at Bagram, U.S. soldiers beat him with fists, kicked him, forced him to take cold showers in freezing winter temperatures, placed guns to his head and threatened to harm his 6-year-old daughter. Begg also said he witnessed beatings by U.S. soldiers that resulted in the deaths of two detainees at Bagram. He said one was a young Afghan who escaped from a "cage" where he was being held. Begg said he heard two American soldiers severely beating the Afghan. He said he then saw the soldiers carry the man to a medical station, and his dead body was taken out on a gurney a short while later.
The second case involved an Afghan man who was forced to stand with his hands cuffed to a bar high over his head, Begg said. By his account, the man eventually went limp from the pain, and a guard ordered him to stand up straight. When he did not, the guard beat him "mercilessly" for "a long time," Begg said, adding that the man later died.
There has been no independent corroboration of Begg's accusations. He said that FBI investigators recently interviewed him by telephone about the first case. He was questioned by U.S. military investigators at Guantanamo about the second case, he said.
The U.S. military has charged 14 soldiers at Bagram in the abuse of inmates and the deaths of two prisoners. It was unclear whether the deaths Begg said he had seen were the same as those deaths. So far, six soldiers have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to abuse charges and three have been acquitted.
Researcher Robert Thomason in Washington contributed to this report.
'Australian Taliban' denied British citizenship
Radio New Zealand November 19, 2005
An Australian man being held at the United States detention camp at Guantanamo has been denied British citizenship.
David Hicks' application was based on the British citizenship of his mother, who was born and lived as a child in England.
The British government has acted to remove all nine of its citizens from the camp and it was hoped it would do the same for Mr Hicks if he became British.
The application was refused on the basis he had allegedly performed "an act prejudicial to the interests of the United Kingdom in attending training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan".
The 30-year-old has been held at Guantanamo since 2002 after he was picked up by US forces while allegedly fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.
His lawyer says an appeal against the decision will be made.
Afghan Press Monitor
No 197, 18 Nov 05 - published by the Institute for War & Peace Reporting
EDITORIAL: Suicide attacks stepped up
(Hewad, November 17, 2005) Insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks in recent months. Two suicide attacks in Kabul [on November 14] caused casualties, while an insurgent in the southern province of Kandahar carried out a similar attack on November 16. The question is why the enemies of peace and stability have increased their hit-and-run raids. The attacks came just as Afghan president Hamed Karzai was attending a conference in Austria to discuss the role of Islam in the world. The terrorists want to hurt the reputation of Afghanistan worldwide, but it is clear that they cannot do so, nor can they weaken the support of the international community. We are on the threshold of the first session of the parliament, which the terrorists do not want to take place, so they carry out such attacks. In view of these suicide bombings, the army, police, security agencies, ISAF, NATO and Coalition need to work on a new strategy to ensure security.
(Hewad is a state-run daily mostly in Pashto.)
EDITORIAL: Mullah Omar and Hekmatyar can return home
(The Kabul Times, November 15, 2005) Sebghatullah Mujaddidi, chairman of the independent commission for peace and national reconciliation, has told a news conference that about 1,000 Taleban have already surrendered to the government. He added that three cabinet ministers from the former Taleban regime were already in Kabul, and that he was asking Taleban supreme leader Mullah Omar and his ally Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to return to their homeland. Mujaddidi said it would be up to parliament to decide whether pardon these two men for their past and current actions. While Mullah Omar was a toy in the hands of the ISI [Pakistan intelligence agency], which continues to organise and resupply the Taleban to cross the border and kill our soldiers and policemen, Hekmatyar is a rebellious soul and a highly Machiavellian individual. When he was prime minister in the mujahedin government [of the Nineties], he made and broke a number of agreements with other factions. However, he was not alone in destroying areas of the Afghan capital - other mujahedin leaders were also involved. We hope cooperation between the two neighbouring Muslim states will be enhanced by the work of the tripartite [with the US] commission, so that more Taleban can surrender and live in peace with their compatriots.
(The Kabul Times is a state-run paper published in English every other day.)
EDITORIAL: Speaker of parliament should be elected by Afghans, not foreigners
(Cheragh, November 16, 2005) After the September 18 parliamentary election and the announcement of the final results, a number of eminent leaders of political groups have declared themselves contenders for the post of speaker in the National Assembly. Although some of these leaders have begun negotiations on the issue at home, doing so while touring foreign countries is questionable. Mohammad Younus Qanuni and Haji Mohammad Muhaqeq, who both plan to run for the job, are currently outside the country. In the past, power-hungry men sought external support for domestic appointments. It seems that Qanuni and Muhaqeq have adopted the same tactic. Although political circles accept that the international community will play some role in the speaker's appointment, the trips abroad made by contenders suggests that foreigners are involved in the democratic process and the National Assembly. Members of parliament have a more significant role than ever to play in electing a speaker without regard for linguistic or ethnic factors, and without allowing foreign hands to put their own man in and thus play games with the will and mandate of the people.
(Cheragh is an independent daily run by the Development and Democracy Association.)
EDITORIAL: Afghans back reconstruction of giant Buddhas
(Islah, November 13, 2005) The king of Thailand has offered help with rebuilding the giant Buddha statues of Bamian. The offer was made when a Thai government delegation met Afghan information, culture and tourism minister Sayed Makhdum Raheen recently. The Bamian figures are ancient monuments of the country of special importance to the world. Thousands of Buddhists used to come to Bamian from south Asia, Europe and other parts of the world. The number of tourists fell after the Soviet invasion and the subsequent civil wars, but they remained safe during two decades of war, only to be destroyed by the Taleban regime. Dozens of Afghan and international organisations have promised to rebuild the statues since then, but none has done so. The announcement by the king of Thailand comes as Afghanistan moves towards reconstruction. The Afghan people greatly need their ancient monuments to be restored, too.
(Islah is a state run daily mostly in Dari.)
Afghans Head for the Mall
A glittering complex housing a hotel and nearly 100 expensive shops is a source of wonder for Kabul residents.
By Mohammad Jawad Sharifzada in Kabul (ARR No. 195, 18-Nov-05) Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Hamaduddin, 24, stands outside the capital’s latest newest attraction, the Kabul City Centre shopping mall. He is dressed in traditional Afghan pirhan-tunbon – baggy grey trousers and a long shirt, topped with an off-white waistcoat and a bedraggled patu or shawl draped around his shoulders. And looks a bit bewildered by the glittering array of shops behind the emerald-green glass of the mall entrance.
Asked why he was not going inside, Hamaduddin said in surprise, “You mean they let us in there?”
Kabul City Centre, which opened its doors in September, is a centrepiece in the capital’s rapid construction process. The mall boasts 97 shops selling everything from watches to shoes and cosmetics, at prices well beyond the reach of most Afghans.
For some Kabul residents more accustomed to doing their shopping in makeshift shops in rusty freight containers, the sight of such ostentatious consumption is upsetting.
“God is great. He gives so much to some people that they’re able to build places like this, while I don’t even have enough to eat,” sighed Hamaduddin.
The new shopping centre is in a 10-storey building – a skyscraper by Kabul’s modest standards - in the central Shar-e-Naw district. Inside an eye-catching mirrored glass exterior, the first four floors are given over to shops, with the 130-room Safi Landmark hotel occupying the upper six stories. The hotel boasts such amenities as a health club, conference rooms and cable television.
The mall itself has three all-glass lifts and four escalators, quite a sight for Kabul residents who often have no running water or electricity at home.
“I guided one old woman into the lift,” recalled lift maintenance man Shirullah. “She thought it was a corridor, and tried to get out the other side. I explained it to her, and she was just so happy we had something like this in our country.”
People’s lack of familiarity with technology can cause other problems as well.
“Last week a woman tried to go down the up escalator, and fell,” said Shirullah. “She broke one of the steps.”
Mohammad Daud Sharifi, the mall’s manager, said the property was owned by Haji Abdul Qudus Safi who purchased the land 15 years ago and began construction of the 20 million US dollar facility three years ago.
The hotel, which is being managed under a one-year contract by a firm from the United Arab Emirates, is staffed by 100 Indian nationals and 150 Afghans.
The average price of a hotel room in 200 dollars a night, although Sharifi said cheaper rates are sometimes available, depending on a customer’s bargaining skills.
“Sometimes a customer comes to us, and we don’t want to lose him or her,” he said.
Both hotel guests and shoppers tend to be foreigners, and the rest are among the few relatively well-heeled Afghans who work with international organisations or have access to money from abroad.
Fareshta, a doctor, had a shopping bag full of cosmetics, and looked thrilled with her purchases as well as with the mall itself. She praised the polite and helpful sales staff as well as the facilities.
"In my opinion, this is a source of honour for Afghans," added Fareshta.
Even those who cannot afford to buy appear to enjoy window-shopping.
"I lived in Iran and Pakistan for 10 years, but I never saw such a beautiful shopping mall there," said Fateh Shah, who had come with two of his friends to have a look around. “The prices are high and we can’t afford to buy things, but I feel comfortable here.”
But not everyone feels equally at home here. Some Kabul residents argue that rather than spending money building fancy shops, investors should think about the vast army of unemployed in Afghanistan.
"These buildings are good, but first of all factories should be built so that the unemployment level falls and people have jobs," said Nasrullah, a government employee.
So far, window-shoppers appear to outnumber actual customers, which is a cause for concern to some shop managers.
"We pay 50 dollars per Square metre, so my monthly rent comes to 700 dollars. I can’t make enough to pay this,” said Sayed Shoaib, who runs a shop selling perfumes.
In the city’s still unsettled atmosphere, such a commercial undertaking is a risky venture. A staff of 40 security guards works around the clock to provide protection. Most are interior ministry police, although the mall’s owner pays their salaries.
Still, the management thinks it’s worth the risk.
"There is a lack of security in the country, but we’re hoping no incidents will occur. It is a risk for us, but we have accepted it," said Sharifi.
Mohammad Jawad Sharifzada is an IWPR reporter in Kabul.
Young Afghans Seek Escapist Lifestyle
Buffeted by their country’s turbulent transition, many young people now seem more interested in popular culture than traditional values.
By Salima Ghafari in Kabul (ARR No. 195, 18-Nov-05)
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Jamshid, 19, is the picture of cool. Standing beside his motorcycle in a busy shopping district in central Kabul, he sports dark glasses, jeans and a gold chain. He left school after 10th grade to pursue a more hedonistic lifestyle - which he may find difficult, since he is unemployed.
“We are tired after all the years of war,” he said, shrugging. “Now we just want to do things that make us feel good. Education cannot heal our wounds.”
Three decades of war, mass population displacements, and the Taleban’s five-year war on all forms of entertainment have caused Afghanistan’s young people to rebel against over-serious pursuits, say analysts. They want instant returns on any investment of time and money.
“Most young people today think that all they need to know is English and computer skills,” said Abdul Haq, a lecturer in psychology at Kabul University. “That way they can find well-paid jobs in foreign organisations, and they don’t see any need for further study.”
This is a normal reaction to the period of upheaval the country has endured, according to Abdul Haq. In the past, before war tore the country apart, the university library would have been full of young people studying political science, history and other academic disciplines.
Now, he says, most young people prefer to spend their time watching films, television, and music videos.
Even those who do continue their studies find it difficult to concentrate, given the easy access to a pop culture that still has novelty value.
“Under the Taleban, I used to read all the time,” said a female student at Kabul’s medical institute, who did not want to be named. “But now I cannot even keep up with my university studies. Television keeps me too busy.”
Critics say the situation is getting worse every day, with the result that young Afghans are becoming strangers to their own culture while they take in the latest Bollywood movies and Iranian music.
Abdul Ghafoor Liwal, an independent writer and researcher, points the finger at the media, which he accuses of steering youth in the wrong direction, all in the name of freedom.
"I don’t know whether press freedom means showing people dancing almost naked, or what," he said.
The breakdown of the family, also a legacy of war, comes in for its share of the blame as well.
“It is the responsibility of families to encourage youth to study,” said Liwal. “The government has to make educational programmes a priority.”
It may be too soon to expect Afghanistan’s young people to buckle down to their studies, says Professor Aziz Ahmad Rahmand, chairman of the modern history department at Kabul University. The security situation is still too unsettled and the future too uncertain to expect them to commit to an education.
“This is not yet an atmosphere in which young people can study,” he said.
Another factor is that the infrastructure needed for a viable education system does not yet exist, says Nasrullah Stanikzai, the deputy minister of information, culture, and tourism.
“Afghanistan is just now emerging from years of crisis,” he said. “Youth want to escape into cheap movies, television and narcotics. They don’t have the support – there are no good libraries for them, they are poor. It’s all understandable.”
Some of the responsibility lies with the family as well as with the schools and universities, said Stanikzai.
He believes the education ministry should establish a network of libraries across the country, “Donor countries and non-governmental organisations have to realise that a school without a library is not a school at all.”
But library staff say young people are not interesting in using the facilities that are currently available.Abdul Hamid Nabizada, deputy head of the Kabul department of public libraries, which oversees the city library as well as a few small collections across the country, says few young people now visit apart from those who need to do research for their university studies.
"When a young person watches films until midnight, how is he or she supposed to study the next day?” he asked.
According to Nabizada, before the civil warfare of the Nineties, his library issued up to 5,000 membership cards, but now they have only 2,700 cardholders, 500 of whom are local residents and the rest school and university students.
Engineer Raihana Popalzai, 37, head of the Kabul University Library, grumbles about the lack of interest even among the university’s 10,000 students.
She said that approximately 1,000 students come to the library regularly, but even they are focused on pursuits other than study. “Young people try to learn English so they can abuse the internet, getting on to [porn] sites or engaging in chats,” she said. “Their improper use of the library means they have less energy to use for their studies.”
Kabul’s booksellers are also feeling the change.
Mullah Mohammad Sherin, who runs a bookstore in central Kabul, has been in the business for 44 years. "I have been selling books since I was a child,” he said. “We had a good income until the fall of Najibullah’s government [in 1992]. Young people would come in asking for various books. Instead of selling novels and history books, I used to lend them out for money, because that gave me more income.”
But now young people are fixated on dictionaries and English language courses, he said. The rest of their time - and money - is spent on pirate videos. “Young people are watching films rather than reading books,” he concluded.
Mohammad Hassan, who has had a shop in the Pul-e-Bagh-e-Umomi area of Kabul for 20 years, says business has fallen away sharply in recent years.
"I only sell two or three books in a whole day, and they are bought by students on private English and computer courses. The others are just not in demand,” he said.
Officials at the newly created youth ministry also have concerns about the trends affecting young people, but is so far unprepared to take any specific actions.
“The youth ministry just started up in 2005,” said Mohammad Sediq Oria, an advisor to the ministry. “We need some time to develop a strategy and put our programme into practice.”
He said the ministry is planning to set up libraries as well as internet centres and sports clubs, and will work with other government institutions to explore the apparent alienation of Afghanistan’s youth.
Amina, 17, is in the ninth grade at the Bibi Sarwari Sangari school. In traditional schoolgirl garb of black dress and white headscarf, she was rushing to class and at first did not want to be interviewed. But she did admit that studying was not her primary interest.
"I don’t have enough time for studying,” she said. “I like to read fashion magazines and watch television.”
Salima Ghafari is an IWPR reporter in Kabul.
Cabbie hands back 350,000 dollars in diamonds found in taxi
Fri Nov 18, 2:35 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A Los Angeles taxi driver distinguished himself by his honesty after finding a pouch filled with diamonds worth 350,000 dollars in the back of his cab, police said.
At first, Afghan immigrant Haider Sediqi, 40, paid little attention when he found the small brown pouch in the back of his car after dropping off a fare at Los Angeles airport on Wednesday.
But later in the day, Sediqi's jaw dropped when he opened the pouch to discover a series of clear plastic boxes filled with a fortune in cut diamonds, carefully mounted in Styrofoam.
The honest cabbie, a father of two who immigrated to the United States in the 1990s, immediately called police and handed over the king's ransom in precious stones.
The haul was returned to its relieved and grateful owner, New York jewellery trader Eric Austein, airport police said.
Other people's jewels are "not what you earned," Sediqi told the Los Angeles Times. "Someone else earned that."
Quake-hit Pakistan exceeds aid target
By Zeeshan Haider / November 19, 2005
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The world boosted aid pledges for quake-devastated Pakistan to $5.8 billion on Saturday after the United Nations warned there could be a second disaster as survivors face the bitter Himalayan winter.
The sum exceeds Pakistan's target of $5.2 billion for recovery and reconstruction after the earthquake which killed more than 73,000 and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
"The results were better than expected ... we have received pledges worth $5.827 billion," Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told a news conference after an international donors meeting in Islamabad.
Pakistan had been about $3 billion short of what it needed to rebuild houses, schools, hospitals, water and energy supplies, roads and civic administration.
Aziz said $3.9 billion of the aid pledged was soft loans and $1.9 billion was grants.
The new pledges came after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that survivors would die unless relief funds came soon.
"The pitiless Himalayan winter is almost upon us and growing more and more severe every week," Annan told the conference which opened with harrowing video of quake damage and survivors.
"We must sustain our efforts to keep people as healthy and as strong as possible until we can rebuild," he told representatives from about 50 donor countries.
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf praised old rival India for its help and appealed to it to seize the opportunity the quake had given the two countries to resolve their dispute over Kashmir, the region hit hardest by the quake.
"Let us together solve the Kashmir dispute once and for all," Musharraf said.
The neighbors have agreed to open five points on their heavily militarized, disputed border in Kashmir to help relief efforts and allow divided families to meet.
Two dozen Kashmiris from the Indian side walked across the heavily militarized frontier on Saturday - the first time in nearly 60 years people had been allowed to cross on foot.
The October 8 quake left 500,000 homeless and affected 3.3 million in Pakistani Kashmir and North West Frontier Province. About 1,300 people were killed on the Indian side of Kashmir.
Rich nations and multilateral lenders pledged the lion's share of the extra aid, but even impoverished countries such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh made contributions.
Thanking donors, Musharraf said it was now the turn of Pakistanis, at home and abroad, to ensure aid needs were fulfilled.
"I know that we are going to spend about $6 billion," he said. "Now that is a shortfall which we will make through government efforts and this is where I feel the people of Pakistan ... need to come forward."
Musharraf told the conference of a "lost generation," referring to how the quake destroyed schools, entombing classrooms. The quake killed an estimated 35,000 children. A total of 400,000 homes and over 10,000 schools need to be rebuilt, he said.
Aid agencies say the relief effort is more daunting than for Asia's tsunami. Helicopters are the only way to reach many survivors living high in the mountains.
The Asian Development Bank and World Bank each pledged about $1 billion in financial aid, mostly in soft loans, and the Islamic Development Bank doubled its financial aid to about $500 million for rebuilding infrastructure.
"The scale of the catastrophe is stunning," Asian Development Bank chief Haruhiko Kuroda told the conference.
The World Bank said Pakistan's poverty-reduction plan would be at risk without more aid. China and Saudi Arabia together announced soft loans and grants worth more than $600 million.
The United States added another $200 million in cash, a targeted $100 million in private donations and said the value of its military relief support had climbed to $110 million.
Britain gave another 70 million pounds, and the European Union pledged $110 million in addition to about $200 million pledged individually by its member nations.
Japan said several hundred million dollar yen-loans would be made available for projects and China offered to help set up a national network of seismic centers to warn of future quakes.
Musharraf proposed naming new villages after the donors that paid for their construction, and called on cities round the world to adopt a district in the earthquake zone.
(Additional reporting by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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