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Afghan support for a decade - Hague

The UK will provide economic support to Afghanistan for another decade after the withdrawal of troops, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

At the end of an international conference on the future of the war-ravaged country, Mr Hague insisted Britain would continue to support Afghanistan "long after" 2014, when UK forces will finally be withdrawn from combat roles.

The one-day conference in Bonn, Germany, saw about 100 nations and international organisations, including the United Nations, jointly pledge political and financial long-term support to prevent Afghanistan reverting to a safe haven for terrorists.

"We will not abandon Afghanistan: the sacrifices made over the last 10 years have not been made in vain," Mr Hague said.

"This conference has sent a clear signal that Afghanistan's friends will continue to support her long after international combat troops have left the country."

He added: "We have committed ourselves to provide economic support to Afghanistan for the decade after 2014, until Afghanistan becomes economically self-sustainable."

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is to visit Britain this week to sign a long-term partnership agreement between the UK and Afghanistan.

He said that foreign nations' continued "commitment and support" would be vital to "consolidate our gains" after a decade of fighting the Taliban already in Afghanistan.

"We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade," Mr Karzai told the conference, which followed a recent warning by the World Bank of a sharp budget shortfall as the 130,000 international troops stationed in Afghanistan withdraw.


From Belfast Telegraph