We are in Afghanistan because it became a source of terrorism.
The Taliban gave safe haven to Al Qaeda, which allowed terrorists to plan and carry out attacks around the world, including the atrocities of September 11 2001. That is why the UN authorised a NATO-led military intervention.
But getting rid of the Taliban regime and Al Qaeda was only the first part of the job. The second is to make sure they cannot return.
ISAF's strategy involves protecting the civilian population from insurgents, supporting more effective governance at every level, and building up Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) as rapidly as possible.
At the same time as our troops help provide security to Afghan people, we are building up and developing the Afghan Army and Police so they can provide their own security.
We are supporting the Afghan Government's efforts to reach out to those who are willing to accept the democratic process and abandon violence and terrorism.
The Army is working relentlessly with the United Nations' mandate to help the Afghan Government improve governance, both nationally and locally, to:
- tackle corruption and the drugs trade;
- build up the rule of law;
- promote economic development - investing in infrastructure, agricultural alternatives to growing poppy, jobs;
- improve access to education and healthcare.
The transition of security from ISAF to Afghan forces is the next phase of the NATO/ISAF counter-insurgency strategy for Afghanistan. Responsibility for districts and provinces will transfer to Afghan control as soon as the ANSF are ready.