£200m Afghanistan aid rise detailed
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is to reveal details of how the UK will send an extra £200 million of aid to Afghanistan over the next four years.
Stabilising insecure areas, strengthening the economy and making the Afghan government more effective will be the priorities of a 40% boost in funds, he will say.
Mr Mitchell, who is in Kabul ahead of a major international conference on the country's future, will hail the potential of the development push to help speed the return of British troops.
He is under political pressure to defend the Government's decision to protect the aid budget from swingeing public spending cuts amid polls suggesting public dissent over the ring-fencing.
But a leading charity raised fears the aid boost represented a "quick fix" aimed at meeting military rather than the humanitarian needs of Afghans.
Afghanistan will be the main beneficiary of an ongoing review of where UK taxpayers' cash is spent abroad - with payments to dozens of countries set to be reduced or axed.
"Nowhere is the case clearer of why well-spent aid overseas is in our national interest than in Afghanistan," Mr Mitchell will declare.
"The UK is there to prevent the Afghan territory from again being used by al Qaida as a base from which to plan attacks on the UK and our allies.
"While the military bring much-needed security, peace will only be achieved by political progress backed by development. I am determined to back up the efforts of our armed forces as we work towards a withdrawal of combat troops."
A four-fold increase in work to stabilise insecure areas, including 80 key districts in Helmand, will involve efforts to boost local government and formal justice systems in Taliban-dominated areas, better election planning to reduce fraud and boost turnout and investment in the Afghan police.