News / Europe

British PM Rules Out More Troops for Afghanistan

Tom Rivers

On his first trip to Afghanistan as prime minister, David Cameron met Thursday with President Hamid Karzai.  The new British leader stressed that Afghanistan is his country's top foreign affairs issue, while at the same time, ruling out any further troop deployments.

But Cameron promised more money would be made available to counter the threat of roadside bombs to British troops.  

Standing next to President Karzai, Prime Minister Cameron cited what he called the long, important relationship between the two countries and the importance his new coalition government places on the British mission in Afghanistan.

"For me, the issue of Afghanistan is the most important foreign policy issue, the most important national security issue for my country, and it is that national security approach that I want to stress here today," said Cameron.  "It is my number one priority.  That is why I was so pleased to welcome President Karzai as my first visitor to Chequers as he said.  It is why I formed a national security council immediately on talking office and it is why I have made this visit to Afghanistan very early on since becoming prime minister."

Speaking at a joint news conference with President Karzai in Kabul, Mr. Cameron repeated a line often delivered by the former Labor government; namely, that the aim is to get the Afghans to get to a point where they can take control of their own security and own destiny.

But time itself has become an important factor in the equation of public opinion.  The NATO mission in Afghanistan has now lasted longer than the Vietnam war.  Polls repeatedly show that the British public is growing increasingly weary of the conflict.  The British economy is in rough shape and a planned defense review by Cameron's government is expected to slash expenditures.

Under this backdrop, the British leader said that the next 12 months in particular must prove to be successful.

"I have described this year, and the president I know agrees, in terms of the NATO mission in Afghanistan as the vital year.  This is the year when we have to make progress, progress for the sake of the Afghan people, but progress also on behalf of people back at home who want this to work and want to see real progress this year," said Cameron.

That, Prime Minister Cameron said, includes not only the military aspects of the Afghan mission, but also progress in the political sphere in areas like reconciliation and reintegration.

Specifically on the military front, he promised more financial support directly where it is needed most.

"My biggest duty as prime minister of the United Kingdom is to our armed forces and to make sure they have all of the equipment and all of the protection that they need to do the absolutely vital job that they are doing here in Afghanistan," Cameron said.  "And I am pleased to announce today that we will be spending an extra 67 million pounds ($97 million) on countering the IED [improvised explosive device] threat and actually doubling the number of British teams that are there to counter the threat from those explosive devices."

Britain is the second largest contributor to NATO in Afghanistan.  Just under 10,000 British troops are in the country with most deployed in the south, where violence has been the worst.

As to any move to build-up that number, Mr. Cameron flatly ruled that out saying, "The issue is not remotely on the U.K. agenda."

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid