News story

David Cameron in Afghanistan

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Prime Minister David Cameron has travelled to Afghanistan to visit troops at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province.

During his visit, Mr Cameron met troops and held a meeting with Governor Mangal and US General David Petraeus before heading to Kabul for talks with President Karzai.

In a press conference in Kabul, the PM insisted the campaign against the Taliban in Helmand Province was having “success” and the transition to Afghan security control was “on track”.

He also said that tomorrow in the Commons he would be announcing a “modest reduction” in British troops for 2012, on top of the 450 already due to withdraw this year.

Mr Cameron and Mr Karzai announced the creation of an Afghan National Officer Academy. The institution will be modelled on Britain’s Sandhurst, and aim to produce high quality platoon leaders.

It will open its doors in 2013, and accept 1,350 recruits annually with some 120 UK troops involved in the training.

Mr Cameron said it would provide the “Afghan army officers of the future”.

Yesterday, the PM addressing US and British troops as the US celebrated Independence Day, and praised the long military history the two countries have shared serving and fighting side by side.

We’re not here to create a perfect democracy, we’re not here to create a perfect country, but we are doing some great things here in Afghanistan in terms of their country, their schooling and everything else.  We’re really here to try to make sure that this country can look after its own security and can keep terrorists and terrorist training camps out of this country.

The Prime Minister also commented on the death of the British serviceman who went missing during his visit and said his “thoughts all day had been with that young man and trying to help the military find him”.

Mr Cameron cancelled some of his activities today so that the military could focus all their attention on searching for the serviceman.

The reason for me not going to Lashkar Gah was not about my security. It was literally, use everything you have got to try and deal with this.