News / Asia

Cameron: Britain Committed to Afghanistan

British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a joint press conference, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, unseen, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 5, 2011
British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a joint press conference, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, unseen, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 5, 2011

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron made an unannounced stop in Afghanistan Tuesday. The visit comes at a time when some NATO troops and top leaders are beginning to prepare to leave the country. The NATO mission in Afghanistan says four of its service members died in two separate attacks in the east as Cameron visited, Kabul, and pledged to increase British aid to the country.

Cameron met with a collection of leaders in his stopover in Kabul, including President Hamid Karzai and the outgoing U.S. military commander, General David Petraeus.

Prime Minister Cameron repeated Britain's commitment to Afghanistan and said his country would increase aid as British troops are being withdrawn.  He also announced a plan to build a military academy in Afghanistan modeled after England's Sandhurst Academy.

Along with other NATO countries that have contributed to the fighting force in Afghanistan, Britain is beginning a withdrawal of its approximately 9,500 troops in an effort to hand over control of the nation’s security by 2014.

However, unlike the United States and some other nations that say the final withdrawal date will depend on conditions on the ground, Britain looks at 2014 as a hard deadline for the withdrawal of all its combat forces.

"Because, yes, we will be drawing down some of our troops this year and next year and, yes, we will be ending combat operations by the end of 2014.  We won’t have troops in anything like that number that we have now, but we will have a long-term relationship," said Cameron.

Cameron recalled that Irish Republican Army militants in Northern Ireland were trying to kill police officers and British troops in the past, but they are now part of the political process in Belfast.  The British government chief said that experience could guide Afghanistan's effort to integrate Taliban insurgents into civil society.

Since the Obama administration's recent announcement of a withdrawal schedule for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, NATO coalition partners have been specifying when their troops, too, will leave.

Several members of the NATO military and civilian leadership also are preparing to hand over their duties to others.  General Petraeus is due to leave shortly to become director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.  His second in command, General David Rodriguez, and U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry are preparing to leave the country as well.

In Islamabad, a U.S. delegation met with Pakistani officials Tuesday, discussing how to keep Afghanistan stable as NATO troops leave, and also how to stem the narcotics industry there.

The U.S. State Department's top official on international narcotics and law enforcement, Assistant Secretary William Brownfield, said the meetings were about saving lives, not just in the region, but globally.  He says Afghanistan’s fate contributes to that effort.

"The purpose of today’s meeting, more than any other, is - simply stated - how to save lives," said Brownfield.  "Pakistani lives, Afghan lives and, quite frankly, the lives of any national from any country on this planet."

Pakistani officials say the continuing instability in Afghanistan is drifting over the border into Pakistan's tribal areas.  And they point to the recent attack on the luxury Hotel Inter-Continental in Kabul as an indicator of how formidable a force the Taliban still is.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid