News Article

Browne calls on NATO Allies for greater assistance in Afghanistan

A Defence Policy and Business news article

28 Sep 06

UK Defence Secretary Des Browne will call for greater support for NATO's mission in Afghanistan at a NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Portorož, Slovenia, today, 28 September 2006.

Rt Hon Des Browne MP, Secretary of State for Defence. [Picture: MOD]

Rt Hon Des Browne MP, Secretary of State for Defence.
[Picture: MOD]

While praising NATO's International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) excellent work so far in Afghanistan, Mr Browne will stress the need for all NATO Allies to continue to rise to the challenge and expand support in building Afghan capability and capacity. He will ask Allies to look to the longer term, and take a comprehensive approach to operations in Afghanistan.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Browne said:

"I am grateful for the recent offer of troops from Poland but I will be urging NATO to look again to see what more can be done. Allies must step up to the plate to meet our collective commitment to support the Government and people of Afghanistan.

"I cannot overemphasise the importance of having a comprehensive approach to our operations in Afghanistan. This is the only way we can deliver the necessary development and reconstruction. I will be asking NATO to develop stronger links with organisations which can help in the reconstruction effort."

Des Browne is attending informal meetings of Defence Ministers in Portorož, Slovenia, on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 February 2006. The meetings are being Chaired by the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

37 nations currently contribute Armed Forces to the wider international effort to help Afghans rebuild their country and to extend the authority of the legitimate government. Currently this involves some 20,000 troops across the ISAF controlled area of Afghanistan, 10,000 of which are in the South.

Ministers at the informal meetings in Slovenia will also be considering the future of the NATO Response Force and what needs to be done to reform NATO in preparation for the NATO Summit planned for the end of the year in Riga. Meetings will also be held with Russian and Mediterranean Dialogue Partners.

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