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Countries are canceling more than $1 billion in debt that Afghanistan owes them, the Paris Club of creditor nations announced Wednesday.

The debt relief comes partly in response to Afghanistan’s participating in a program for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, the Paris Club said in a statement. Some $441 million is being canceled as part of the HIPC Initiative, while creditors are voluntarily writing off another $585 million, the group said.

Afghanistan agreed in exchange to use the money it would have spent on paying its debts on programs in line with the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction.

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Article courtesy cnn.com