The new contribution was announced by the bank’s president Robert B. Zoellick here after his three-day tour to Afghanistan and meeting Afghan leaders including President Hamid Karzai.

“Zoellick announced support to Afghanistan from the Bank’s new Global Food Crisis Response Program, which will give $8 million for the rehabilitation of around 500 small, traditional irrigation schemes critical to the recovery of the country’s agriculture,” a statement of the bank’s Kabul office said.

“The World Bank is committed to supporting Afghanistan’s efforts to overcome poverty, promote economic and social development, and strengthen governance and anti-corruption measures amid a challenging security situation,” Robert B. Zoellick said.

President of the Washington-based leading lending agency, according to the statement, reaffirmed the institution’s long-term commitment to Afghanistan and support for its new five-year plan to reduce poverty and promote economic and social development.

Since the resumption of operations in Afghanistan in April 2002, the World Bank Group has financed 41 projects, committing around $1.69 billion of which $1.25 billion is grant, the statement said. (Xinhua)