Gordon Brown: Extra troops for Afghanistan, Yemen security the focus for int'l conference
Monday, January 25, 2010
British prime minister Gordon Brown said in his monthly news conference today that a conference on the war in Afghanistan and another on security concerns in Yemen, due to take place over two one-day sessions in London this week, will announce an expansion of the British military presence in Afghanistan.
|We will be announcing new figures from NATO forces and for Afghan forces in the time to come|
Brown says that the conference on Thursday will outline projections on forces and training for Afghan soldiers and military police, with the ultimate objective of British forces leaving as soon as the Afghan forces are able to provide their own security. He said that "[t]he London conference will be attended by President Karzai, the U.N. Secretary General Ban, 60 nations will be represented. We will be announcing new figures from NATO forces and for Afghan forces in the time to come and we will be focusing on how the political and civilian surge that we plan in Afghanistan can match and compliment the military surge that is taking place."
United States general Stanley McChrystal, the head of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, also believes that an increase in troop levels could result in the negotiation of peace with the Taliban, as he said in an interview with the UK's Financial Times newspaper. Brown was asked directly whether he believed the same, and responded "Now if at the same time, we can bring over from those people who were previously associated with the Taliban or with groups that were taking action against the coalition forces, by them renouncing violence and agreeing to join the democratic process, then that is of value to the peace process." It is expected that this year Afghanistan will be host to 134,000 soldiers and 90,000 police. Brown also responded to recent promises of 3,000 additional US troops and 500 additional British soldiers by saying "I believe that both for (international) trainers (for Afghan forces) and for forces generally there are still some announcements to be made."
|anything that suggests that the government of Afghanistan cannot deal with its corruption problems is something that we must be worried about|
Brown says that he expects Afghan president Hamid Karzai to announce new security measures and initiatives regarding corruption in his government. He said that "President Karzai and his ministers, with the addition of the armed forces and the police have got to show that they can take security control of their country. That is what our aim is and therefore anything that suggests that the government of Afghanistan cannot deal with its corruption problems is something that we must be worried about." A number of delegates—including US secretart of state Hilary Clinton—are expected to press Karzai to focus on security in his nation. The conference was called after last year's Afghanistan elections, which saw many accusations of corruption, with the focus of how NATO forces can ensure a smooth transition of power to local forces.
One day before the Afghan meeting, the conference will meet to discuss the situation in Yemen. Gordon Brown says the international delegates will discuss how they can "strengthen support for Yemen in its efforts against al-Qaida and ... help the government of Yemen with development and governance." He says that Britain will make every effort to counter threats made by extremists.
- Tom Rivers. "British leader outlines goals for Afghanistan and Yemen conferences" — , January 25, 2010
- "Extra troops to be announced at Afghan meeting: UK" — , January 25, 2010