International community supports phased Afghan control over security

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

At the Kabul conference yesterday the international community expressed its support for President Karzai's objective that the Afghan National Security Forces should lead and conduct all military operations in all provinces of Afghanistan by 2014.

The Kabul International Conference, hosted by the Government of Afghanistan and the UN took place yesterday, Tuesday 20 July 2010.

It was attended by representatives from around 70 partner countries including the UK, international and regional organisations and financial institutions.

The conference was opened by President Hamid Karzai, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Rassoul and UN Special Representative Staffan de Mistura.

The communique issued from the conference states:

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the international community held a historic meeting today in Kabul to renew their commitment to the Afghan people.

The Conference marked a new phase in their partnership, the Kabul Process, and a heightened commitment to a secure, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan.

Foreign Secretary William Hague meets Provincial Governor Nuristani in Herat, Afghanistan, ahead of Tuesday's conference
Foreign Secretary William Hague meets Provincial Governor Nuristani in Herat, Afghanistan, ahead of Tuesday's conference [Picture: Crown Copyright/FCO 2010]

The communique (which can be read in full at Related Links) goes on to define measurable benchmarks for the Afghan government’s programme on areas including Governance; Rule of Law; Human, Gender and Children’s Rights; Economic and Social Development; Regional Cooperation; and Counter-Narcotics.

Regarding security, the communique states:

Participants recognised that civilian casualties and protection of civilians are of great concern and noted that most civilian casualties are caused by insurgent attacks.

Participants regretted the death of every Afghan and international civilian, and Afghan and international military forces remain committed to the objective of a steady reduction in the rate of civilian casualties.

Participants welcomed the Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to a phased exercise of full authority over its own security.

The international community expressed its support for the President of Afghanistan’s objective that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) should lead and conduct military operations in all provinces by the end of 2014.

The international community committed to provide the support necessary to increase security, and to the continued support in training, equipping and providing financing to the ANSF to take on the task of securing their country.

The communique also states:

The international community committed to support the Government of Afghanistan in creating the conditions necessary to allow for transition and to continue to support the transition process to advance to the point where the Afghan National Anny (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP) are fully capable of maintaining internal and external security, public order, law enforcement, the security of Afghanistan’s borders and the preservation of the constitutional rights of Afghan citizens.

The Government of Afghanistan and NATO/ISAF are to assess jointly the provinces with the aim of announcing by the end of 2010 that the process of transition is underway.

The communique also states that the Afghan government pledged to continue the implementation of the Afghan National Police Strategy and its underpinning Police Plan to build a strong, professional police force.

The document also stated the Afghan government’s pledge to progressively enhance the quality and quantity of the Afghan National Security Forces such that the Afghan National Army reaches a strength of 171,600 personnel and the Afghan National Police of 134,000 by October 2011, with the necessary financial and technical support by the international community.

Regarding peace, reconciliation and reintegration, the communique said:

Participants welcomed the outcomes of the Consultative Peace Jirga, held from 2-4 June 2010. The Consultative Peace Jirga demonstrated the strong will within Afghan society to reconcile their differences politically in order to end the conflict.

The Government of Afghanistan noted the demand of the Consultative Peace Jirga that all parties engaged in the conflict respect the need to bring lasting peace through mutual understanding and negotiations, in full respect of the values and rights, including those of Afghanistan’s women, enshrined in Afghanistan’s Constitution, and through inclusive elections.

Participants welcomed the establishment of an inclusive High Peace Council composed of women and men to set policy, strengthen political confidence and build consensus.

Accordingly, Participants welcomed and endorsed in principle the Afghan Government’s Peace and Reintegration Programme, which is open to all Afghan members of the armed opposition and their communities who renounce violence, have no links to international terrorist organizations, respect the Constitution and arc willing to join in building a peaceful Afghanistan.

The international community reiterated its commitment to continue to support this endeavour through the Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund, and looks forward to local Peace Jirga meetings that include men and women at district and provincial levels to discuss elements of an enduring peace.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who attended the conference said:

I congratulate the Afghan government on hosting this landmark conference. The number of countries represented here today demonstrates the extent of support for the government and the people of Afghanistan. We are also pleased that civil society has been able to play a part.

Today’s conference is an important step. It builds on President Karzai’s clear commitment to the Afghan people to renew efforts to bring about a secure, prosperous and democratic future for Afghanistan. We in Britain fully support that vision.

Central to delivering this vision are the key elements that we heard from the Afghan government about today, specifically, a transition to full Afghan responsibility for security and a just and inclusive political settlement.

We welcome President Karzai’s goal of Afghan-led security operations within five years.

The scale of the UK’s military contribution is a mark of our own commitment to the stability of Afghanistan, but long-term stability rests on the growing Afghan capability to manage security. Both the army and the police are well on track to meet their 2011 growth targets.

The transition to full Afghan security responsibility should be gradual and determined by Afghan capability, but it should be able to start soon.

For our part, the UK will continue to provide support and training to the Afghan Security Forces until that goal is achieved.

At the same time, the sacrifices and efforts of Afghan and international forces need to be fully supported by an intensified and reinvigorated civilian effort, Afghan and international, increasing in pace, coherence and impact on the ground.

In addition there needs to be a just and inclusive political settlement that works for all the peoples of Afghanistan.

The outcomes of the Consultative Peace Jirga and the Afghan Reintegration programme presented today are key steps in taking forward this effort.

The communique from the conference ends by saying:

The broad and high level participation of governments and international organizations in Kabul is a sign of confidence in the future of Afghanistan and a message of hope and commitment to the people of the country.

Appreciating this concrete manifestation of ongoing support, the Afghan government vows to fulfil its commitments.