Sunday, 29 November 2009

Brown Urges Timetable For Afghan Reforms

Gordon Brown has told the President of Afghanistan that he risks losing international support if he fails to implement crucial reforms.

The Prime Minister says he wants an extra 5,000 Afghan forces trained in Helmand province by next year, and he wants details on reform of the police and government.

Mr Brown told Sky's political editor Adam Boulton that more progress must be made in Pakistan to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, adding that Britain is prepared to help re-build its education system.

Britain will host an international conference on January 28 to decide a timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.

Mr Brown said: "I will want to know that by the time we get to January 28 we have a credible plan in place from President Karzai so that we can train Afghan troops.

"Within three months of that I feel we should also have a credible plan about how he's going to reform the police service in Afghanistan... and within six months he has got to have appointed district and provincial governors."

Mr Brown said the milestones would create the conditions for control of the country to be handed over, district by district, to home-grown authorities and for UK troops to come home.

He also told Sky News that people in Pakistan know where Osama Bin Laden is and the country's government must take action against al Qaeda within its borders.

:: Nine thousand US Marines will be deployed to Afghanistan within days of Barack Obama's announcement of his new war strategy, it is being reported.

The Washington Post claims the extra troops will double the size of the US force in the southern province of Helmand, where large numbers of British forces are based.

President Barack Obama will outline his latest strategy on Afghanistan on Tuesday.

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