23rd April 2012 Washington DC, USA

UK finances Afghan Forces beyond 2014

At the 18 April meeting of the NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers in Brussels, the British Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond announced a firm UK commitment to help fund the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) after 2014.

He said “The UK contribution of £70m per annum to the funds to support the Afghan National Security Forces will make Afghanistan a safer and more stable country and protect our own national interests…This contribution underlines our commitment to a stable and secure Afghanistan after 2014 and I look forward to discussing with other like-minded countries the contributions they will make.”

The importance of this announcement is as much about giving Afghans certainty as about the amounts of money themselves. They need to know that they will have the resources, after the Coalition leaves, to maintain peace and stability in Afghanistan.  This will only happen if the international community follows through on its commitment from the NATO Summit in Lisbon to have an effective strategy for handing over responsibility to capable Afghan forces. The upcoming Chicago NATO Summit will be a key moment to demonstrate the progress made in confirming long-term international commitment to Afghanistan’s security.  We are working closely with the US and other partners to make sure it sends a clear message.

The UK contribution to the ANSF is, of course, only part of the long-term commitment that the UK is making to Afghanistan. As was envisaged in the bilateral agreement signed by our Prime Minister and President Karzai in London on 28 January, we will also seek to help Afghans development more broadly.  This means working with the Afghans in areas from trade and investment, to the development of a military officer academy, to our long-term commitment to maintain our development assistance programme, which currently stands at £180m per year. On its own, the UK’s assistance is insufficient, but when the efforts of all the Coalition members, and other members of the international community are assessed, we hope that Afghanistan will have reason to believe her friends in the international community will remain resolute in our determination to support her security and development well beyond 2014.

About Sophia Willitts-King

Sophia joined the British Embassy in Washington DC in January 2011 as First Secretary, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Foreign, Security and Policy Group. Her previous work in the Foreign…

Sophia joined the British Embassy in Washington DC in January 2011 as First Secretary, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Foreign, Security and Policy Group. Her previous work in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office includes a year working on policy towards Greece and Cyprus and 10 months studying Urdu, including seven months living with families in small villages in Pakistan. Taking up a post in the British High Commission in Islamabad, Sophia covered internal politics and human rights during a turbulent period (nuclear testing, the Kargil conflict, the military coup and the 9/11 attacks). During her time in Pakistan, Sophia had the opportunity to travel widely across the country; including to fascinating places such as Waziristan, Quetta, Gwadar, Peshawar and Multan that are now difficult to visit. Sophia then returned to London where she worked in the Iraq Policy Unit, before taking up a job covering the foreign policy aspects of UK defence industrial issues and UK input into the defence aspects of the “European Constitution”. She also worked in the Cabinet Office in charge of the Ministerial committee’s and inter-ministry co-ordination on Iraq, the Middle East and North Africa. She has also served in Kathmandu as the Deputy Head of Mission where she managed the Embassy and led the political team, which was working to support Nepal to complete its peace process, tackle the challenges of the conflict period, and put itself on a path of sustainable development.