Foreign Secretary William Hague has updated Parliament on progress in Afghanistan during April.
In a written statement to Parliament the Foreign Secretary said:
“April saw a series of security incidents, notably the attack on the UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif and the escape of about 500 prisoners from the Sarposa jail in Kandahar.
Insurgent activity in April did not increase significantly compared with that seen in March. Within Helmand levels of such activity remained particularly low compared to previous periods. However seasonal trends associated with the completion of the poppy harvest, the large number of weapons caches still being found and the Taleban’s declared intention to begin their spring offensive all suggest that activity will increase over the coming months.
The strength of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) has grown again in April and this, combined with falling attrition rates, will help to ensure that the ANSF are increasingly able to meet this threat. The troubled Kabul Bank was taken over by the Government and split into two. The Special Court, established to investigate allegations of malpractice in the autumn Parliamentary elections, completed its provincial recounts of the disputed Parliamentary Election results.
As the Prime Minister stated on 3 May, the death of Al Qaeda founder and leader Osama Bin Laden, killed by US ground forces in Pakistan on 2 May, presents a new opportunity for Afghanistan and Pakistan to work together to achieve stability on both sides of the border. We should take this opportunity to send a clear message to the Taliban: now is the time to separate themselves from Al Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process.