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World powers pledge to support 'full Afghan ownership' of security

Text by Leela JACINTO

Latest update : 2010-01-29

An international conference on Afghanistan in London concluded Thursday with a commitment to support “full Afghan ownership” of its security situation and to reintegrate Taliban insurgents willing to renounce violence.

A key international conference on Afghanistan in London concluded Thursday with a commitment from the international community to support “full Afghan ownership” of the country’s security situation, including a programme to reconcile and reintegrate Taliban insurgents willing to renounce violence.

Responding to Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s call for international support for a new Afghan National Council of Peace, Reconciliation and Reintegration to work with insurgents renouncing the battlefield, donors at the conference pledged $140 million for the first year of the programme.

A CHANGE AMONG TALIBAN

Speaking to reporters at the end of the summit, conference host, British Foreign Minister David Milliband said the themes of the conference were “mutual responsibility - Afghan and international - and of unity behind a clear plan.”

A conference communique released by more than 70 countries and major international organisations attending the meeting said Afghanistan and the international community were "entering into a new phase on the way to full Afghan ownership" of its security.
To that end, the conference pledged to help boost the number of Afghan army troops to 171,600 and the police force to 134,000 by October 2011.

In his address to the conference, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown noted that the figures would put the total number of Afghan security forces at 300,000 by 2011, when US forces are expected to begin returning home.

The 300,000 figure, he noted, represented “a presence that is far bigger than our coalition forces”. At present there are about 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan.

The beefed up Afghan security forces would play a critical role in the conference goal of beginning the process of transferring provinces to Afghan control by the end of 2010.

Pledges to tackle corruption

The London conference marked the first time Karzai appeared on a major international platform following the discredited Aug. 20 presidential election.

In his keynote address earlier Thursday, Karzai proposed a six-point programme to put Afghanistan on the road to recovery, including the establishment of an office of oversight to investigate and sanction corrupt officials.

New anti-corruption measures agreed to at the conference included the establishment of an independent anti-corruption tribunal and revising the Afghan civil service code.

Conference participants also pledged to “build on the lessons learned from the 2009 elections,” according to the communique and to deliver improvements in the upcoming Afghan parliamentary elections in September.

READY TO ENGAGE THE TALIBAN




Date created : 2010-01-28

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