|The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, meets the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai|
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, on the inauguration of the Transitional Administration June 2002
Since September 2001 the political situation in Afghanistan has changed dramatically. As these pages detail, the United Nations chaired talks in Bonn, culminating in the Bonn Agreement in December 2001, provided a roadmap for a democratically elected government to lead Afghanistan. An Emergency Loya Jirga in June 2002 established a broad-based Transitional Administration to govern until democratic elections can be held in 2004. International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – led initially by the UK – has helped to improve the security situation in Kabul. A Good Neighbourly Relations Declaration was signed by Afghanistan and its immediate neighbours, securing Afghanistan’s national integrity in a region known for its instability. The The UN, European Union and the international community are actively engaged in assisting Afghanistan in its reconstruction efforts.
The UK is taking a leading role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan through its assistance, including in the areas of Security Sector Reform - demobilising and disarming the militias; building an accountable national army and national police force under democratic control; stamping out the drugs trade; and building a legal system, and support for recognition of human rights, an independent media, culture and the environment.
However, much still remains to be done. 2004 is an important year for Afghanistan. The Constitutional Loya Jirga agreed a new Constitution and once this has been adopted, preparations for presidential and parliamentary elections will begin. The number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), joint international civilian-military teams deploying to the regions to improve security, assist reconstruction and help the central government increase its influence, will increase to twelve.