12 December 2012The Foreign Secretary William Hague has updated parliament on progress in Afghanistan during October 2012
In a written statement to parliament the Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
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 second progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010.
On 9 October the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2069 (2012) extending the authorisation of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) by a further year. The resolution provided a 12 month roll-over of the Chapter VII authorisation, with an unqualified “all necessary measures” provision. It also incorporated NATO Chicago Summit commitments to support the training, equipping, financing and capability development of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) up to and beyond 2014.
The UK and Afghanistan held the first meeting of the Afghanistan-UK Joint Commission chaired by Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin and Baroness Warsi to review implementation of the Enduring Strategic Partnership document signed by President Karzai and the Prime Minister in January.
On 25 October the International Development Committee (IDC) published its Afghanistan: Progress and Prospects after 2014 report. The Government welcomes this report. The Department for International Development will shortly publish a formal response.
On 31 October the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) publicly announced that 5 April 2014 would be the date for the next Presidential Election in Afghanistan. The Provincial Council elections, postponed from 2013, will also take place on 5 April. As part of this announcement, the IEC published an ambitious timeline for the full electoral processes. Although the timeline as it stands does not cover the Parliamentary elections due in 2015, it effectively meets the Afghan commitment at the Tokyo Development Conference to produce a timeline by early 2013. An implementation plan is set to follow.
October typically marks the end of the so called Afghan Summer fighting season. This time is used by insurgents to recuperate and plan. Overall the levels of violence are likely to decline, and in accordance with seasonal norms, we can expect the character of operations to change during the winter.
Four members of UK Armed Forces lost their lives while deployed on operations in Afghanistan in October. The two separate incidents that caused these deaths were assessed to be the result of insider attacks. We take these attacks and their causes extremely seriously and we continue to work at the highest level to reduce the risk of insider attacks
The Government of Afghanistan continued to progress plans for the privatisation of the New Kabul Bank. The first in a series of investor road shows took place in October. A road show in Dubai is planned for November. Tenders are being managed by the Afghan Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, and the Cabinet. The process aims to attract high quality investors. The New Kabul Bank is a commercially viable bank, with 550 million USD of deposits and over 100 branches across Afghanistan. As one of the largest banks in Afghanistan, its survival is important for economic development and jobs. The UK is supporting the Afghan Government with the sale of the Bank, thus promoting a transparent and effective process.
I am placing the report in the Library of the House. It will also be published on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.