NEW YORK - The United States and its allies want to revive the ancient "silk road" running across Central Asia as a way of preparing Afghanistan's economy for after 2014 when coalition forces pull out of the country.
In a conference held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, about 25 countries ranging from Iran to China and Saudi Arabia met to discuss how southern and central Asian countries could become more interlinked through trade, transit and energy ties.
"As coalition combat forces leave Afghanistan the support structure that has grown up will shrink and it will mean fewer jobs for Afghans and a loss for the Afghan economy," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"If we don't pledge ourselves to a new economic vision for the region, I don't think a more prosperous future is likely."
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