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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid