I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is today publishing the twenty ninth progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010.
The Prime Minister visited Afghanistan on 29 June accompanied by Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Warsi. In Helmand, they celebrated Armed Forces’ Day with troops, witnessing the progress and changing role of British Forces as they move from a combat role to one based primarily on training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). In Kabul the Prime Minister and Baroness Warsi met President Karzai. The Prime Minister and President Karzai agreed on the importance of credible Presidential and Provincial elections, and the peaceful transfer of power to President Karzai’s successor, for the future stability of Afghanistan. They also discussed the peace process and Afghanistan’s relations with Pakistan.
On 18 June, the Qatari Government announced that the Taliban would open a political office in Doha for the purpose of talks with the US and Afghans.
On 14 June, President Karzai appointed a new Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Following the appointments, the Chair of the Commission expressed her concern that some of the new appointees might not have the necessary expertise. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed similar concerns, urging the Afghan Government to reconsider the recent appointments and re-open the selection process.
The UK has agreed a new programme in Afghanistan to strengthen Afghan women’s political participation, as candidates and as voters, in the upcoming elections. DFID has committed £4.5 million for the programme from June 2013 to December 2015.
On 18 June, President Karzai announced that the last of the 91 Afghan Districts, covering 11 Provinces and the remaining 13 per cent of the Afghan population, will enter security transition. This fifth and final tranche of security transition means that the ANSF will assume lead security responsibility throughout the country, for all of Afghanistan’s 27 million citizens.
On 4 June, a Written Ministerial Statement was laid in the House of Commons outlining the UK redundancy policy for Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan. This confirmed a package of training and financial support for our locally employed staff in Afghanistan, in recognition that as our presence in Afghanistan reduces our requirement for the support of local staff is also reducing.
I am placing the report in the Library of the House.
Read previous Afghanistan progress reports for 2013
Read previous Afghanistan progress reports for 2012
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