Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and
1. It is vital to immediate UK national
security interests that Afghanistan becomes a stable and secure
state that can suppress terrorism and violent extremism within
its borders, and contribute to the same objective across the border
in Pakistan. The majority of attack plots against the UK come
from this area. Our strategic objectives in Afghanistan remain:
To ensure that core Al-Qaeda does
not return to Afghanistan. To reduce the insurgency
on both sides of the Durrand line to a level that poses no significant
threat to progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
To ensure Afghanistan remains a legitimate
state increasingly capable of handling its own security.
2. In addition we aim:
To contain and reduce the drugs trade
to divide it from the insurgency and prevent it undermining security,
governance and the economy.
To provide long-term sustainable
support for Afghan Compact goals on governance, rule of law, human
rights and social and economic development.
3. In pursuit of these goals we aim to work
in close cooperation with our international partners, including
the UN, NATO, the US, the EU and regional players and to promote
maximise effective international engagement in support of Afghanistan.
4. The recent review of the UK's strategy
in Afghanistan has reaffirmed the importance and continuing relevance
of these strategic objectives. But the review has also identified
the need for a strategic step change of effort in Afghanistan
in which the international community's efforts are focused to
greater effect behind a prioritised focus on governance, supported
by politics, reconciliation, and the rule of law.
5. Much has been achieved across Afghanistan
since 2001, as well as in Helmand and the south more broadly since
the UK deployment there in 2006. We recognise that only a comprehensive
political, security and economic approach will deliver sustainable
progress in Afghanistan. The document attached
sets out in more detail UK policy and our assessment in each of
6. Notable achievements since 2001 include
the first nationwide democratic Presidential and Parliamentary
elections and ratification of a new Constitution. The UK has made
a significant contribution to building the capacity of the elected
Afghan government which has in turn steadily extended its reach
across the country to deliver improved services and improved living
standards. But the political process has lost momentum and local
governance remains patchy. Presidential and provincial elections
in 2009 and Parliamentary elections in 2010 provide a critical
opportunity to reinvigorate the political process and to increase
Afghan confidence in their government.
7. We remain convinced that reconciliation
has a critical part to play in paving the way for the sort of
comprehensive political settlement which will ultimately be necessary
to provide a long-term foundation for a secure and stable Afghanistan.
The UK supports Afghan-led efforts to promote reconciliation at
both national and provincial level. But, although these efforts
have considerable potential, we should not expect significant
8. Alongside the Afghan National Army and
Police, international forces have extended their reach to a large
part of Afghanistan. Together these forces are now responsible
for security across the country. The number of international troops
has grown steadily to around 52,000. The UK troop contribution
currently stands at around 8,300. Large parts of the country eg
in the north and west are now relatively stable. But significant
security challenges remain in the south and east and progress
is still fragile.
9. Extensive opium poppy cultivation in
Afghanistan continues to threaten improvements in governance and
security. However, significant progress has been made: more than
half of Afghan provinces are now poppy free. Corruption also remains
a serious challenge. The issue is complicated by evidence of a
growing link between the illicit drugs trade and the insurgency,
with the insurgency exploiting the trade for income. Working with
our international partners, the UK continues to attach a high
priority to addressing these challenges.
10. Afghanistan is currently off-track for
most of the Millennium Development Goals. However, progress has
been made on achieving universal education, reducing child mortality
and increasing immunisation. The challenge ahead lies in cementing
gains made, expanding coverage and quality of services and preventing
reversals in progress.
11. The UK has played an active role in
advocating the close involvement of Afghanistan's regional partners
in addressing its fundamental challenges, all of which have regional
implications. We believe that these main challenges, including
extremism, terrorism, poor governance, corruption, the need for
increased economic development and combating the illegal narcotics
trade, can only be tackled effectively on a regional basis. Afghanistan
continues to build good relations with its regional partners.
They, in turn, cooperate actively with Afghanistan in a range
12. Pakistan in particular is key to Afghanistan's
future, as its largest trading partner, as a country that faces
many of the same challenges and whose own security concerns impact
directly on those of Afghanistan. We are encouraging the Governments
of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to build on recent improvements
in their relationship by stepping up the momentum of their engagement
and to look for further ways to systematically embed the improved
13. UK efforts in Afghanistan are only effective
as part of the wider international community's contributions.
At the heart of the international effort, the UN Assistance Mission
to Afghanistan plays a crucial co-ordinating role, which we strongly
support. The UK also financially supports EU initiatives in Afghanistan
which have contributed greatly to the reconstruction and development
of Afghanistan. The US is the single largest contributor of troops
and bilateral aid, and President-elect Obama has already reaffirmed
that America's commitment to Afghanistan will continue. The US
is expected to contribute a substantial number of further troops
|ACT||Afghanistan Communications Team
|ADG||Afghan Delivery Group
|ADIDU||Afghan Drugs Inter-Departmental Unit
|AICF||Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility
|AIHRC||Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission
|AISG||Afghanistan Information Strategy Group
|AMG||Afghanistan Media Group
|ANA||Afghan National Army
|ANDS||Afghan National Development Strategy
|ANP||Afghan National Police
|ANSF||Afghan National Security Forces
|ARTF||Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund
|ASCT||Afghanistan Strategic Communications Team
|ASG||Afghan Strategy Group
|ASNF||Afghan Special Narcotics Force
|ASOG||Afghanistan Senior Officials Group
|ASOP||Afghan Social Outreach Programme
|AST||Afghanistan Strategy Team
|BBCWST||BBC World Service Trust
|BPHS||Basic Package of Health Services
|CENTCOM||US Central Command
|CJTF||Criminal Justice Task Force
|CMMH||Civilian Military Mission in Helmand
|CNPA||Counter-Narcotics Police of Afghanistan
|COMISAF||Commander of ISAF
|CPD||Central Prison Department
|CSTCA||Combined Security Transition CommandAfghanistan
|DCOMISAF||Deputy Commander of ISAF
|DDR||Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration programme
|DFID||Department for International Development
|DIAG||Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups
|EoM||Election Observation Mission
|EUPOL||EU Police Mission
|FCO||Foreign & Commonwealth Office
|FDD||Focussed District Development
|GDP||Gross Domestic Product
|GMIC||Government Media and Information Centre
|GPI||Good Performers Initiative
|HMG||Her Majesty's Government
|IDLG||Independent Directorate of Local Governance
|IEC||Independent Electoral Commission
|ISAF||International Security Assistance Force
|IWPR||Institute for War and Peace Reporting
|JCMB||Joint Co-ordination and Monitoring Board
|JSSP||Justice Sector Support Programme
|MDG||Millennium Development Goal
|MIGA||Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
|MISFA||Micro Finance Investment Support Facility of Afghanistan
|MOD||Ministry of Defence
|NATO||North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
|NDCS||National Drug Control Strategy
|NJP||National Justice Programme
|NJSS||National Justice Sector Strategy
|NSID (OD)||National Security, International Relations and Development Cabinet Committee
|NSP||National Solidarity Programme
|ODIHR||Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
|OEF||Operation Enduring Freedom
|OMLT||Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team
|OSCE||Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
|PCRU||Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit
|PFM||Public Financial Management
|PRT||Provincial Reconstruction Team
|RC (S)||Regional Command (South)
|SAF||Stabilisation Aid Fund
|SCT||Strategic Communications Team
|SOCA||Serious Organised Crime Agency
|SPF||Special Programme Fund
|TFH||Task Force Helmand
|UNAMA||United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan
|UNDP||United Nations Development Programme
|UNODC||United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
|UNSCR||United Nations Security Council Resolution
Why Afghanistan Matters
1. We welcome this inquiry. It is vital to immediate
UK national security interests that Afghanistan becomes a stable
and secure state that can suppress terrorism and violent extremism
within its borders and contribute to the same objective across
the border in Pakistan. UK engagement in Afghanistan is aimed
at ensuring that it becomes a state capable of delivering governance
and services to the Afghan people and preventing the return of
2. A stable Afghanistan, in a stable region, is vital to global
stability and security. In the longer term, building up the Afghan
Government's ability to tackle the narcotics trade is important
to global action against illegal drugs, and in particular to UK
action against illegal drugs. Afghanistan supplies around 90%
of the world's heroin and the trade generates billions of pounds
of revenue for global organised crime.
3. Afghanistan is a test for the international community,
especially for the United Nations (UN) and the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation (NATO). We have a direct interest in them
succeeding, and being seen to succeed because failure for the
international community would have far reaching effects not only
for regional security but also for the authority and credibility
of those key multilateral institutions that underpin the UK's
security and support for the international rule of law. In addition,
Afghanistan is an enduring US political commitment, reinforced
by the President-elect.
4. The UK has contributed £1.65 billion in development
aid and over £3 billion in military operations to Afghanistan
since 2001. There are currently around 8,300 British troops stationed
across Afghanistan, and around 210 civilian staff.
Our Strategy since 2001
5. The international strategy for Afghanistan is built
upon the Bonn Agreement in December 2001 and its successor, the
Afghanistan Compact of January 2006. The Bonn Agreement set out
the steps needed to recreate the institutions of government, leading
to Presidential elections in 2004 and National Assembly and Provincial
Council elections in 2005. In parallel, G8 countries agreed to
lead reform in five key areas: counter-narcotics (UK); disarmament,
demobilisation and reintegration of militia (Japan); training
of a new Afghan National Army (United States) and police force
(Germany); and justice sector reform (Italy).
6. As the Bonn process came to a close, the UK played a leading
role through 2005 in defining the terms for continued international
community engagement in Afghanistan. Ministers agreed on 19 December
2005 that Her Majesty's Government's (HMG) strategic aim was to
help create a stable, secure and self-sustainable Afghanistan.
We hosted the major London Conference on Afghanistan in January
2006 at which the Afghanistan Compact was launched. Crucially,
the Compact established a mechanism (the Joint Co-ordination and
to keep the international community and Afghanistan Government
focused on meeting the Compact's goals.
7. In February 2007 Ministers endorsed a comprehensive
approach to Afghanistan, complementing moves in the international
community for a more rounded counter-insurgency approach. This
made clear that our strategic aim would only be achieved through
a combination of economic development, governance, delivery of
security and communication to the Afghan people as well as fighting
the insurgency. Countering narcotics was also key and this had
to be achieved by helping the Afghan Government strengthen its
authority throughout the country.
8. At the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan
(Paris, 12 June 2008), the Afghan National Development Strategy
(ANDS) was launched and the international community reaffirmed
its long-term support for Afghanistan's development, pledging
a further $21 billion.
The Current UK Strategy
9. Building on the comprehensive approach agreed by Ministers,
the Prime Minister's speech to the House of Commons on 12 December
2007 set out the current
strategic principles for the UK's involvement in Afghanistan.
increasing Afghan responsibility for their own
security by supporting the Afghan Government, army and police;
strengthening national and local institutions and
supporting the search for political reconciliation;
supporting reconstruction and development; and
working in partnership with the international
10. Specific UK objectives for an enhanced strategy on
Afghanistan were agreed by the National Security, International
Relations and Development (NSID(OD)) Cabinet Committee at the
end of 2007. The three primary strategic objectives are to:
reduce the insurgency on both sides of the Durand
Line to a level where it no longer poses a significant threat
to Afghanistan and Pakistan;
ensure that core Al-Qaeda does not return to Afghanistan
and is destroyed or at least contained in Pakistan's tribal areas;
ensure that Afghanistan remains a legitimate state
and becomes more effective and able to handle its own security,
increase the pace of economic development, and allow the UK and
international military commitment to transition away from a ground
combat role to security sector reform.
11. Three secondary objectives were also identified:
contain and reduce the drugs trade to divide it
from the insurgency and prevent it from undermining security,
governance and the economy;
provide long term sustainable support for Afghan
Compact goals on governance, rule of law, human rights and social/economic
keep our allies engaged with us in Afghanistan.
12. These objectives form the November 2007 NSID Strategy
document. The strategy
focuses on countering the insurgency within a clear, political
framework; reducing the proportion of ground combat in favour
of other more sustainable forms of Afghan security over time;
and recognising that UK effort and costs in Afghanistan will remain
at current high levels for the long haul, whilst transitioning
from military to civilian effort.
Cross Whitehall Management
13. The UK Strategy is owned and overseen by NSID(OD).
In addition to the normal Departmental support provided by officials
to Ministers there are two Cabinet Office chaired committees which
meet weeklythe Afghanistan Strategy Group (ASG) and the
Afghanistan Senior Officials Group (ASOG) who have oversight of
the delivery against objectives and the prioritisation of efforts.
All Departmental stakeholders are represented in these committees,
including Her Majesty's Ambassador in Kabul and the UK's representation
in Helmand Province, the Civil-Military Mission Helmand (CMMH).
The Cabinet Office and the ASG have been recently enhanced by
the creation of a cross-government Afghanistan Strategy Team (AST)
whose primary roles are long term strategy development in conjunction
with Departments and to undertake regular periodic reviews. In
addition to the AST, two other cross-government teams have been
established to support co-ordinated delivery: the Afghanistan
Strategic Communications Team (ASCT) and the Afghan Drugs Inter
Departmental Unit (ADIDU).
14. The Afghan Delivery Group (ADG) is the primary governance
body in-country and co-ordinates activities on the ground in Afghanistan.
It is made up of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the
Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Department for International
Development (DFID) and is chaired by HM Ambassador in Kabul. It
reports to Ministers in the NSID through the ASG. Funding for
ADG-approved activities comes from a number of sources: the Stabilisation
Aid Fund (SAF), FCO programme budgets (Strategic Programme Fund
(SPF) and Bilateral Programme Budget)) and DFID's Country Assistance
for Afghanistan. Funds are spent in line with the British Embassy
Business Plan, the Helmand Roadmap
and the DFID Country Assistance Plan.
Delivery of UK Effort
15. UK effort is delivered through nine interdependent
strands, indentified in the NSID Strategy. The interdependent
strands of work and their medium term goals are:
SecurityIncreased capacity of the
Afghan Government and army and police to contain the insurgency;
Politics & ReconciliationStrengthened
national and local institutions and support for political reconciliation;
Governance & Rule of LawIncreased
capacity and accountability of Afghan Government institutions
to deliver basic services, remove corruption and provide justice
for the Afghan people;
Economic Development & ReconstructionEconomic
growth and poverty reduction that improves the lives of Afghan
men, women and children;
Counter-NarcoticsContain and reduce
the drugs trade to prevent it from undermining security, governance
and the economy;
HelmandIncreased capacity of local
and national government to contain the insurgency and deliver
security and development to local people;
Regional EngagementRegional neighbours
support the creation and maintenance of a stable Afghan state;
International EngagementMore coherent
international engagement supporting Afghan peace building and
Afghan and UK public support for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
16. A stock-take of the November 2007 NSID Afghanistan
strategy is currently being undertaken. The stock-take assesses
progress against the UK strategic objectives by reporting on outcomes
which together contribute to these strands. The written evidence
that follows here covers all these strands of work, and is organised
in this order, with the exception of the Helmand strand, reporting
on which is incorporated into the other thematic areas.
17. The UK's contribution is part of the larger global
effort in Afghanistan, involving the UN, NATO, donors, multilateral
institutions and international and local non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) working in partnership with the Afghan Government. As such,
coordination of our activities with other partners is an important
part of improving their effectiveness.
18. FCO representation in Afghanistan is based in the
British Embassy in Kabul (around 150 civilian staff) and the CMMH
in Lashkar Gah, Helmand (over 60 civilian staff) and in four Forward
Operating Bases (FOBs) across Helmand Province in Gereshk, Musa
Qaleh, Garmsir and Sangin (there is one Stabilisation Adviser
in each FOB and a political officer in three of the four FOBs).
FCO staff are co-located with DFID and MOD colleagues and contracted
specialists working as governance, rule of law and justice advisers
and contracted by the Stabilisation Unit.
19. The Stabilisation Unit, previously named the Post
Conflict Reconstruction Unit (PCRU), is jointly owned by DFID,
FCO and MOD (the three "parent departments"). It provides
specialist, targeted assistance in countries emerging from violent
conflict where the UK is helping to achieve a stable environment
that will enable longer term development to take place. The three
departments agreed in June that the Unit should take on responsibility
for recruiting, training and deploying all civilians in delivery
roles in the CMMH except the head and one of the deputies. The
unit also provides a contracted civilian expert to the NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)'s Regional Command
(South) (RC(S)) headquarters in Kandahar.
20. Since 2001 international forces have extended their
reach to a large part of Afghanistan and are now responsible,
together with the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National
Police (ANP), for security across the country. The number of international
troops has grown steadily to around 52,000 and large parts of
the country are now relatively stable. Challenges remain in the
south and east but expanding areas of control are an indication
of our military success against the insurgency. In these areas,
development and better governance is happeningalbeit more
slowly than we would like.
21. Those opposed to the process of Afghan development, including
Taleban extremists, local warlords, fighters from outside Afghanistan's
borders and those with criminal interests, all share a desire
to restrict the ability of the Afghan Government to provide for
and govern its people. The international community's strategy
is to support the Government of Afghanistan, working with the
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to expand security, increase
Afghan government capacity at district, provincial and national
level, promote the rule of law and support reconstruction and
22. There are significant differences in the security situation
across the country. The insurgency is predominantly based in the
south and east, although there have been incidents throughout
Afghanistan. The insurgents often operate from across the porous
borders with Pakistan, and addressing the situation in both countries
in parallel is key. There is growing evidence of collaboration
between the insurgency and the narcotics trade. The insurgency
in the east is more fragmented than that in the south, made up
of a range of jihadi groups, often operating from across the Pakistan
border. The overall number of security incidents has risen in
the south and east since 2006, often as a result of ANA and ISAF
23. The tactics of the opposition to the Government of
Afghanistan have also evolved since 2001. Following the ousting
of the Taleban, the non-state militias and warlords that had multiplied
over thirty years of civil war, posed a potential threat. This
has been addressed, largely successfully through the Disarmament,
Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme (see below).
Following the substantial international, including UK, deployments
to the south in 2006, the Taleban and insurgents conducted an
increasing series of conventional attacks on Afghan and coalition
forces, in which they were regularly defeated.
24. The majority of UK forces are deployed in Helmand,
and progress has been made along the Helmand River valleyfrom
Kajaki in the north to Garmsir in the south. We are expanding
control,with the ANSF taking an ever more active role. However,
these areas remain challenging. As the ANA and international forces'
footprint has expanded, the insurgency has increasingly resorted
to asymmetric tactics. This is a counter-insurgency operation
more complex in nature than conventional warfare with no easily
definable front line.
25. The insurgency does not have a single coherent command
structure or strategy, and depends heavily on support from safe
havens in Pakistan. The insurgency is increasingly interwoven
with criminal activity and the illegal narcotics trade. A lack
of effective governance in many parts of the south and east has
allowed the insurgency to flourish.
26. There has been an increase in deliberate attacks
on humanitarian and development projects and workers as the insurgents
seek to destroy the progress made by Afghans, including by targeting
those promoting female education, and even schoolgirls themselves.
Across the country, security and the perceptions of security have
worsened in the past 12 months.
27. In recent months high-profile attacks, such as that
on the Serena hotel in Kabul (January 2008), the ambush of French
ISAF forces in the Sarobi district of Kabul province (August 2008)
and the suicide attack on the Ministry of Culture (October 2008)
have increased Afghan and international perceptions of insecurity.
Separately, the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) has
recorded a steady increase of reports of intimidation, kidnapping,
extortion and criminality since 2007, furthering concerns that
security in the capital is deteriorating.
28. Views of the security situation are also adversely
influenced by high profile incidents resulting in civilian casualties.
The alleged bombing of a wedding party in Kandahar in November
2008 and the incident in Shindand in August 2008 led to widespread
condemnation throughout Afghanistan and the international community.
Despite strenuous efforts by international forces accurately to
target the insurgents, there are occasions when the ordinary Afghans
are drawn into the conflict. Rules of engagement and procedures
are in place and are constantly being updated in the light of
experience, both to minimise the risk of civilian casualties and
to investigate any incidents that do happen. However, the Taleban
operate from within the community and residential areas, often
deliberately drawing the innocent into the fight. International
forces have made some progress in minimising these events and
adhering to strict post-incident guidelines, and we welcome the
involvement of Afghan authorities in jointly investigating alleged
incidents. However we remain aware that poorly handled civilian
casualty incidents undermine Afghan consent for ISAF and feed
Taleban propaganda and international forces will continue to make
strenuous efforts to reduce incidences of civilian casualties.
29. Building capacity in the ANSF remains an essential
step in enabling Afghanistan to take responsibility for its own
security. ANSF capacity is increasing. In 2008 the ANA was participating
in 70% of ISAF operations, and leading 50% of them.
ANSF took on lead responsibility for Kabul City on 28 August 2008
and, thus far, are doing a good job in difficult circumstances.
The transition in Kabul City was the first step in a phased transition
of lead security responsibility for the whole of Kabul Province.
In Helmand, where feasible, the ANA is taking the lead planning
and executing operations and is taking responsibility for fixed
locations along the Sangin valley.
30. The ANP is continuing to grow, with a large-scale
training programme focussing on frontline officers being delivered
by the US and an EU-led mission mentoring and advising the senior
leadership and officials in the Afghan Ministry of the Interior
to improve their capacity to successfully manage and implant reform
programmes. Whilst the ANP suffer from serious problems such as
corruption stemming from the narcotics trade and heavy casualties
stemming from fighting the insurgency, some progress is being
made. The Afghan Special Narcotics Force, part of the Counter-Narcotics
Police made the world's largest narcotics seizure in June 2008
(see Rule of Law section).
31. The security situation will remain challenging and
improving this is central to the UK and international community's
strategy in Afghanistan. We recognise that this is a long-term
mission, and that it is an economic, social and political mission
as well as a military one. ISAF forces are clearly having a positive
impact on the ground: without the intervention of the international
community, it is likely that the country would once again have
descended into chaos, providing a secure base from which Al-Qaeda
could operate. The UK, alongside our Afghan and international
partners, remains committed to enhancing the scale and capability
of the ANSF so they are able to provide security for their own
country and so enable its reconstruction.
32. Since the effective expulsion of Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan,
international terrorist activity has been disrupted and reduced
to a relatively low level throughout the country. However, the
insurgency's shift towards asymmetrical attacks has entailed suicide
bombing and targeting of civilians. Furthermore, the significance
of Afghanistan in the psyche of Islamist extremists, the potential
for Al-Qaeda to use the current insurgency to galvanise a similar
level of resistance to that witnessed in Iraq and their continuing
aspiration to return to the pre-September 11th situation in the
country leads the UK to view Afghanistan as amongst its highest
priorities in countering terrorism.
33. Counter-terrorism features prominently in the UK's overarching
strategy for Afghanistan. To achieve a stable and secure Afghanistan,
restored to its rightful place in the international community
and committed to eradicating terrorism, we must not only successfully
counter the insurgency and narcotics threats but also the threat
of terrorism. Success in this overarching strategy would be a
strategic counter-terrorism victory against Al-Qaeda and international
34. Our specific counter-terrorist objectives are to:
(a) prevent Afghanistan's reverting into a safe haven for Al-Qaeda
and other affiliated transnational groups and to see the Afghan
Government and people committed to denying these groups the space
in which to plan or conduct terrorist operations; (b) to reduce
the threat to the UK and UK interests posed by terrorism from
the region; and (c) to reduce the impact that Afghanistan plays
in Al-Qaeda/terrorist propaganda. To deliver these objectives
the UK works closely with allies and the Afghan Government to
develop the capabilities of the ANSF and to counter terrorist
ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom
35. The UK has been an integral part of the US-led Operation
Enduring Freedom (OEF) against international terrorism since 2001.
OEF was tasked with destroying the Al-Qaeda training camps in
Afghanistan, and ending the Taleban regime that supported them.
Military operations commenced on 7 October 2001 in Afghanistan
against the Al-Qaeda network and Taleban. OEF troops fought alongside
the Afghan opponents of the Taleban, notably the Northern Alliance,
which contained some of the remnants of the last Afghan government
to be recognised by the UN prior to their continuing civil war
with the Taleban.
36. The Taleban had collapsed by the end of 2001, its remnants
melting back into the Pashtun populace in southern Afghanistan
and the Pakistani tribal areas. However, it was important to ensure
that Afghanistan could not again support or provide the ungoverned
space in which terrorists could flourish. International forces
therefore needed to remain in Afghanistan to provide security
and stability, to combat residual Taleban and Al-Qaeda elements,
and to support the development of Afghan security forces.
37. In order to assist with this ISAF was created in
accordance with the Bonn Conference in December 2001. ISAF's mission
is to help the people and elected Government of Afghanistan build
an enduring stable, secure, prosperous and democratic state, respectful
of human rights and free from the threat of terrorism. ISAF works
by conducting stability and security operations in co-ordination
with the ANSF; mentoring and supporting the ANA; and supporting
Afghan Government programmes to disarm illegally armed groups.
38. Deployed at the invitation of the Government of Afghanistan
(then the Afghanistan Transitional Authority), ISAF was given
a mandate by the UN Security Council through UN Security Council
Resolution (UNSCR) 1386 of 20 December 2001. Its mandate is renewed
annually, most recently with UNSCR 1833 of 22 September 2008 extending
until 13 October 2009. ISAF currently has around 52,000 troops
deployed from 41 contributing nations, and 26 Provincial Reconstruction
Teams (PRTs). It is currently commanded by General David McKiernan.
Troop Contributing Nation: The ISAF mission consists
of the following 41 nations (the troop numbers are based on broad
contribution and do not reflect the exact numbers on the ground
at any one time).
39. ISAF was initially mandated to deploy in Kabul city,
and international operations outside the capital remained under
the control of OEF. In addition to forces that continued to target
and disrupt terrorist activities, contributing nations also deployed
PRTs to leading regional
and provincial centres.
40. ISAF was initially a coalition of the willing, under
a rotating national command, until NATO formally took command
of ISAF from January 2003. This was NATO's first out of area operation.
In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorised the expansion
of ISAF in UNSCR 1510. Under this plan expansion would take place
in four stages, running counter clockwise around the country.
As ISAF expanded geographically, PRTs operating under OEF transferred
to NATO command. Expansion started with the north (2003/4), the
west (2005), before moving into the south (July 2006) and completing
expansion with the east (October 2006). Each of these areas is
designated as a Regional Command under the ISAF command structure.
41. Building the capacity of Afghan security forces is
essential to improving security across Afghanistan and both ISAF
and OEF are heavily involved in this process. The Combined Security
Transition CommandAfghanistan, (CSTC-A), under OEF control,
leads on the training of the ANA, and also runs a number of large
police training programmes, while ISAF also commands a number
of Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs) usually containing
20-50 military personnel embedded within an Afghan military unit.
The OMLTs provide training and mentoring in support of operational
deployments for units from the ANA, also providing a liaison capability
between the army and ISAF forces. The OMLTs co-ordinate planning
and ensure the army units receive enabling support, including
on active missions.
42. ISAF will continue to be the main focus for the international
community's support for security in Afghanistan. At the NATO Bucharest
summit in April 2008, Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment
to ISAF and its mission, setting out the four principles guiding
ISAF's actions: a firm and shared long term commitment; support
for enhanced Afghan leadership and responsibility; a comprehensive
approach by the international community, bringing together civilian
and military efforts; and increased cooperation and engagement
with Afghanistan's neighbours, especially Pakistan. ISAF will
continue to provide the lead for international support for security
in Afghanistan in the coming months, and ISAF will play the key
role in supporting the Afghan authorities in providing security
for the elections scheduled for 2009 and 2010.
43. Since 2001, 142 UK troops have lost their lives in
Afghanistan (as of 20 January 2009). We commend their professionalism
and their bravery. Total international casualties have increased
year on year.
44. UK troops were first deployed in November 2001, when
Royal Marines from 40 Commando helped secure the airfield at Bagram.
1,700 UK soldiers, Royal Marines from 45 Commando, were then deployed
(as Task Force Jacana) in eastern Afghanistan to deny and destroy
terrorist infrastructure. Task Force Jacana completed its tour
and withdrew in July 2002.
45. The UK led efforts to establish ISAF and we remain
a key contributor, currently providing the second largest deployment
(8,100). Major General John McColl led the first ISAF mission
with contributions from 19 nations. As well as providing the headquarters
and much of the supporting forces for ISAF's first year, the UK
contributed the brigade headquarters and an infantry battalion.
Our contribution initially peaked at 2,100 troops, later decreasing
to around 300 personnel after the transfer of ISAF leadership
to Turkey in the summer of 2002.
46. The UK announced its first PRT in the north of Afghanistan,
in Mazar-e-Sharif, in May 2003. A second, smaller, UK-led PRT
was subsequently established in Meymaneh, also in northern Afghanistan.
The PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif included staff from the FCO and DFID,
who were brought together with around 100 troops to support development
programmes alongside local Afghan authorities. Personnel from
Denmark, France, Romania, Lithuania and the US also participated
in this PRT under UK Command. At this time, the UK also contributed
the bulk of the troops for a new Quick Reaction Force based in
Mazar-e-Sharif, bringing the number of UK troops to around 1000,
while from September 2004 we also deployed Harrier GR7 aircraft
to Kandahar to support OEF and ISAF missions.
47. In May 2006 the UK deployed the headquarters of the
Allied Rapid Reaction Corps to Kabul for nine months to lead ISAF,
and oversee ISAF expansion into the more challenging south and
east of Afghanistan under the leadership of General David Richards.
This expansion saw the UK move our focus of deployment to the
south. Control of our PRTs in the north was transferred to other
ISAF contributors, with Norway taking control of the PRT in Meymaneh
in September 2005 and Sweden taking over the PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif
in March 2006.
48. The UK then shifted its focus of deployment to Helmand
province in southern Afghanistan, and established a PRT in the
provincial capital Lashkar Gah in 2006. The UK troops deployed
to southern Afghanistan have increased significantly since the
initial deployment was announced on 26 January 2006 by the then
Secretary of State, Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP. Initially deploying
3,300 UK military personnel, this number has been increased, to
our current total of around 8,300 across Afghanistan.
49. The ISAF mission is divided into five regional commands:
North, East, South, West and Capital, all of which are under the
command of ISAF HQ in Kabul. The majority of UK Forces are deployed
under the command of Regional Command (South) (RC(S)), as part
of Task Force Helmand (TFH). RC(S) encompasses the neighbouring
provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz, Uruzgan, and Zabul and
comprises forces from the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia,
the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria, France, Lithuania, Georgia,
Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, UAE and US. Command of this international
force is rotated between nations. The UK commanded RC(S) from
May 2007 until December 2007 and, under current plans, will take
command again in September 2009.
The Civil-Military Mission Helmand
50. The role of the PRTs has continually evolved to best
deliver results in different and changing environments. In June
2008 the UK's PRT in Helmand became the Civil-Military Mission
in Helmand. The CMMH is an integrated structure bringing together
the PRT and the military-led TFH in Afghanistan and is charged
with delivering our comprehensive strategy in Helmand, as set
out in the Helmand Road Map. It allows concentration of the UK
effort to deliver a comprehensive, politically-led, counter-insurgency
campaign. It is a permanent organisation, providing continuity
into which the deploying Brigade will plug for its six month tour.
Tasks such as planning, media and communications, which were previously
largely carried out by civilians and military in parallel, are
now conducted jointly.
51. The PRT is headed by the civilian UK Senior Representative
working alongside the Brigadier who currently commands TFH. The
UK Senior Representative reports to the Ambassador in Kabul, while
the Brigade remains under the command of ISAF for all operational
military matters. The Commander of TFH takes military direction
from the Commander of ISAF (and is in close daily contact with
the UK's Permanent Joint Head Quarters), but consults and seeks
guidance from the UK Senior Representative in mounting military
52. During 2008 the number of civilian staff in Helmand
more than doubled, to over 60, working alongside their military
colleagues to deliver stabilisation and civil effect in Helmand.
Civilian advisors are also permanently deployed in a five district
centres to maximise our delivery of civil effect in Helmand. The
five centres, Lashkar Gah, Garmsir, Gereshk, Sangin and Musa Qaleh
contain an estimated 60-70% of Helmand's population. Stabilisation
work will continue to prioritise governance; security; rule of
law; economic development and reconstruction; counter-narcotics
and strategic communications.
The Afghan National Army
53. The ANA was re-established by Presidential decree
on 1 December 2002. The original ceiling was set at 70,000 but
increased to 80,000 as capacity grew. On the 10 September 2008,
at the request of the Afghan Minister of Defence Abdul Rahim Wardak,
the JCMB again increased the ceiling to 122,000 with a further
12,000 training slots. All recruits are volunteers. There is no
compulsory national service. The President is the Commander in
Chief, with day-to-day running through the Ministry of Defence
and National Military Command Centre.
54. The ANA is made up of five Corps, one per ISAF region
(North, South, East, West and Kabul). It is recruited centrally
with manpower drawn from across the ethnic and tribal divide.
All recruits undergo a 12-week training programme, run by the
CSTC-A, at the Kabul Military Training Centre. The UK plays a
role in both organisations. We also support the ANA on a national
basis with places at Sandhurst.
55. The US is the G8 lead for the development of the
ANA, which continues to progress well, with a force of around
68,000 now fielded or in training. Retention rates have increased.
Instances of absence without leave have fallen. The ANA was at
the forefront of operations to recapture Musa Qaleh in December
2007 and increasingly leads operations (more than 50% nationally).
However further work is required to strengthen ANA mobility, combat
support and combat service support. NATO assists the Afghan Government
to bring the ANA up to operating capability through the provision
of OMLTs. These teams support training and deploy on operations
in an advisory role. OMLTs play a particularly important coordinating
and de-conflicting role between ANA and ISAF operations. Overall,
OMLTs are key to the sustainable development of the ANA.
56. In RC(S) 205 Corps comprises of six Kandaks (Pashto
for battalions) and elements of a 4th Brigade from Kabul. Whilst
basic training is crucial, true capability is enhanced and delivered
through mentoring, which is provided by either OMLTs or US Embedded
Training Teams (ETTs). Kandaks in the south are mentored (17 OMLTs
and 10 ETTs) and seven of the OMLTs are provided by the UK. While
ANA progress has been one of the success stories of reconstruction
and capacity building, the current and expected medium-term scale
of sustainability remains its greatest challenge. It is unlikely
that the Government of Afghanistan will be able to finance the
Army or other elements of the security sector through its own
revenue for some considerable time.
57. In 2006 the UK agreed a Memorandum of Understanding
with the Afghan Government in respect of the transfer of detainees
captured by UK Forces. The Memorandum is available in the Library
of the House. The Memorandum commits the UK Government to transferring
detainees to the Afghan Government at the earliest opportunity.
(The agreed ISAF policy is for transfer within 96 hours unless
medical or logistic reasons preclude safe transfer within that
time.) The Memorandum also obliges the Afghan Government to treat
all detainees in accordance with Afghanistan's international legal
obligations; not to impose the death penalty on any transferred
detainee; to allow access to any transferred detainee by the International
Committee of the Red Cross and to UK officials; and not to further
transfer to a third party or outside of Afghanistan without written
permission from the UK.
58. UK personnel, usually members of the Royal Military Police,
visit transferred detainees regularly. The UK has also delivered
training to prison officers, including in human rights issues,
and has worked to improve prison accommodation in both Helmand
and Kabul. As at 15 December 2008, the UK had transferred just
over 200 detainees. There has been one allegation of mistreatment
by a transferred detainee. This was thoroughly investigated and
there was found to be no merit in the allegation.
Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration of Illegal Armed
59. A process of DDR, led by the UN Development Programme
(UNDP) began in April 2003 to disarm the multitude of militias
that existed in Afghanistan and provide demobilised personnel
with the means to become economically independent (eg by giving
access to training for civilian vocations). DDR disarmed over
62,000 former combatants and was formally concluded in June 2005,
although reintegration programmes ran until June 2006. The success
of the DDR process created the conditions to raise an ethnically
balanced and professional ANA. The UK was the second largest donor
to the DDR programme, providing £19.1 million. DDR was succeeded
in June 2005 by the more challenging Disbandment of Illegal Armed
Groups process. More than 1,000 groups are engaged in this process
and over 42,000 weapons and over 200,000 items of ammunition have
been collected. However, more remains to be done to ensure that
these groups do not continue to jeopardise Afghanistan's stability.
Democracy, Elections and Politics
60. The collapse of the Taleban regime revealed the extent
of Afghanistan's political, economic and social devastation. The
challenge for the Afghan people and the international community
was to rebuild a safe and sustainable state, with a strong and
accountable government capable of providing basic services.
61. In December 2001, the signatories to the Bonn Agreementincluding
representatives of the various Afghan ethnic groupsset
out the road map towards the establishment of a democratic and
representative government in Afghanistan. They committed the Afghan
Interim Administrationand its successor the Transitional
Authorityas the repository of Afghan sovereigntyto
act in accordance with basic principles and provisions contained
in international instruments on human rights and international
The Emergency Loya Jirga
62. The Interim Administration was inaugurated on 22 December
2001 and was appointed to govern for six months. From 11-19 June
2002, an Emergency Loya Jirga (traditional Afghan Grand Council)
met in Kabul. Its task, as outlined in the Bonn Agreement, was
to select a Head of State and decide on the composition of a Transitional
Administration to rule Afghanistan until fully democratic elections
could be held. More than 1,500 delegates from across Afghanistan
elected Hamid Karzai as Head of State, by secret ballot, on 13
63. The Loya Jirga was the first opportunity in decades for
the Afghan people to play a decisive role in choosing their government,
and an important step on the path towards democratic elections.
The UK gave £500,000 to support the Loya Jirga Commission
in their work to organise the Emergency Loya Jirga.
64. Delegates were selected to attend the Loya Jirga
from regional constituencies across Afghanistan. In addition to
those selected from the regional ballot, the Commission reserved
a number of seats for women, refugees, nomads, business people,
intellectuals, religious scholars and ethnic minorities. In addition
to 160 seats reserved for women, 40 women were elected at the
regional level. This was the highest proportion of women included
in any Loya Jirga in Afghan history, and as such was an important
first step to ensuring that the views of women will be represented.
65. The Constitutional process began in October 2002,
when President Karzai appointed a nine-member Constitutional drafting
committee. The committee produced a first draft and passed it
on to a 35-member Constitutional review commission. Seven of the
commissioners were women. The commission also received suggestions
from international experts. The UK contributed £500,000 to
support the Afghan Transitional Administration, Afghanistan's
Government, and the UN in organising public consultation on the
Constitution across Afghanistan.
66. The final stage of the process was for an elected national
assembly, the Constitutional Loya Jirga, to reach a consensus
on the proposed draft. The Loya Jirga convened on 14 December
2003 under the chairmanship of former president Mojaddedi. The
502 delegates included representatives of all parts of the country
and all ethnic groups, among them 114 women. The delegates elected
four vice-chairmen (one a woman), and three rapporteurs, or secretaries
(two of whom were women). A final text of the new Constitution,
the eighth in Afghanistan's history, was agreed on 4 January 2004
and signed by President Karzai on 26 January.
67. The international community always made clear that
it attached great importance to the inclusion of the legal protection
of human rights as a fundamental part of the new Constitution.
Some key elements of the new Constitution include:
citizens, whether men or women, have equal rights
and duties before the law. All ethnic groups have equal rights,
and there are provisions for protecting minority languages;
the state has an obligation to create a prosperous
and progressive society based on social justice, protection of
human dignity and human rights and democracy. The state will also
abide by the six core international human rights conventions to
which it is a party;
Afghanistan is an Islamic republic. Followers
of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform
religious rites within the limits of the law. No law can be contrary
to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam;
the National Assembly will consist of two houses;
the directly elected Wolesi Jirga (House of the People) and indirectly
chosen Meshrano Jirga (House of Elders). Women will make up a
quarter of the Wolesi Jirga and a sixth of the Meshrano Jirga;
Afghanistan will have a presidential system of
government. The president and two vice-presidents are answerable
to the nation and to the Wolesi Jirga, which can also impeach
Pashto and Dari are the main official languages
with other minority languages being a third official language
in areas where the majority speaks them. We encourage Afghanistan
to ensure that provisions for Islamic law in the Constitution,
and implementation of the Sharia (Islamic law) in the new legal
code are consistent with Afghanistan's obligations under international
human rights law.
Elections in 2004 and 2005
68. Once the Constitution had been agreed, UNAMA worked
closely with the Afghan Transitional Administration on preparations
for democratic Presidential and National Assembly elections. Presidential
elections were held on 9 October 2004a testimony to the
UN, the Afghan Government and in particular to the Afghan people,
who registered in their millions to vote and then braved threats
of intimidation and violence, as well as bad weather, to turn
up and vote on election day. Of the 8.5 million who voted, 40%
69. Out of 18 presidential candidates, the only female candidate,
Massouda Jalal, came in fifth placebeating two-thirds of
the male candidates. Two vice-presidential candidates were also
female and Bamiyan became the first province in Afghanistan to
have a female governor, Habiba Sarabi.
70. Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections were
held on 18 September 2005. Around 6.8 million Afghans (51.5% of
those eligible) voted at 26,240 polling stations around the country.
The vibrancy of the campaign and the high turnout illustrated
the desire of the Afghan people to engage in democracy. Parliament
was inaugurated on 19 December 2005 and immediately began electing
speakers for its Upper and Lower Houses. By 7 August 2006, after
some debate, the Cabinet was approved. The first budget was agreed
on 3 June 2006.
71. Political parties are still seen by many Afghans
as responsible for the instability that led to the civil war and
chaos of previous decades. This has meant that the importance
of political parties to a functioning Afghan democracy has been
underestimated. It is also possible that the development of well
organised, strong political parties has been hampered by the electoral
system (single non-transferable vote).
72. However, Afghan politics continues to develop; numerous
political parties are licensed by the Afghan Ministry of Justice.
There are also some larger political coalitions, such as the United
National Front, made up of many of the members of the Northern
Alliance, which helped oust the Taleban in 2001. But manifestos
and campaigning are rare and reaching the electorate through tribal
leaders and powerbrokers is commonplace. The 2009-10 elections
will be another opportunity for Afghan politicians to reach out
to voters, who are already being educated about the upcoming elections
by the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
73. The UK has supported the development of Afghan democracy
since 2001. A significant proportion of our funding has been used
to help strengthen institutions, finance the electoral process
and build Afghan civil society and political participation. Our
financial support has been complemented by the continued political
engagement of British Ministers and Embassy officialsencouraging
change, raising concerns with the Afghan Government and lobbying
internationally for support.
Examples of UK support to democratic development include:
£500,000 to UNAMA to support the popular
consultation process for the Constitution;
£20 million to support the 2004-05 elections
£500,000 towards a civic education programme
run by the NGO Swisspeace;
£500,000 for a five-year women's empowerment
programme run by the NGO Womankindhelping in part to increase
the political participation of women; and
over £1.75 million of support (since 2001)
for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC);
helping foster Afghan civil society and protect the rights essential
for a functioning democracy.
74. Political challenges still lie ahead. The Afghan
Government, supported by the international community, has made
huge progress building roads, schools and security services and
extending healthcare (as detailed elsewhere in this report). However,
in the eyes of many Afghans, who had very high expectations after
the 2004-05 elections, progress has been slow and government is
too often seen as corrupt or ineffectual. Working with the Afghan
Government to increase its capacity to protect and deliver services,
including justice, for its people will be an ongoing task for
the international community. Tackling corruption will be a key
challenge for any future Afghan Government. However the appointment
of the capable Hanif Atmar as Minister for Interior in October
2008 is a positive step.
Elections in 2009 and 2010
75. Presidential and Provincial Council elections are
set for autumn 2009; Parliamentary and District Council elections
are due in spring 2010. Geographically phased voter registration
started on 6th October 2008 and is due to conclude by the end
of February 2009. President Karzai, along with several other candidates,
has indicated that he will run again. It is likely that more candidates
will come forward as election day draws nearer.
76. It is unlikely that voter turnout in 2009-10 will be as
high as in 2004-05the first elections of a new democracy
generally have a higher turnout than subsequent ones. But, according
to the Asia Foundation's "Afghanistan in 2008: A Survey
of the Afghan People", over three-quarters of Afghans
surveyed said they were likely to vote in the 2009 elections,
and nearly three-quarters expressed some level of confidence in
their government's ability to manage a free and fair election
77. The UK and the international community are committed
to supporting the 2009-10 Afghan-led elections and are determined
that they will be a success. The UK has already contributed an
initial £6 million to support voter registration. Security
will present a considerable challenge and we are working closely
through ISAF to support thorough Afghan-led security for the elections.
78. UNAMA is already playing a key role in the 2009-10
elections. Through UNDP it is co-ordinating the efforts of the
international community to support the IEC, which has lead responsibility
for conducting voter registration and the elections in 2009 and
79. The full electoral process is anticipated to cost
up to $500 million and more financial support, from a wider donor
pool, is still required. The UK will continue to lobby other donors
to help ensure that the electoral process is adequately supported.
80. The UK supports the deployment of a substantial EU
Election Observation Mission (EoM) to be deployed to monitor the
2009-10 elections. The EU EoM will be complemented by other international,
regional and domestic EoMs to help ensure that the election results
81. The UK strategy for Afghanistan is based on the premise
that military means alone will not provide the solution in Afghanistan.
At the same time as putting military pressure on the insurgents,
the UK has therefore been trying to promote, develop and support
Afghan-led initiatives to reach out to and if possible reconcile
key insurgent leaders at local and national level. The UK's interest
is in exploiting existing, and creating future, vulnerabilities
in the insurgency in order to allow the Afghan Government to split
and co-opt significant elements. These elements need to be brought
into, and feel they have a stake in, a stable, sustainable and
democratic Afghanistan. The aim will be to isolate those who will
not reconcile, who are likely to be driven largely by ideology
or criminal motives and who will need to be defeated militarily.
In the longer term, the UK recognises that ultimately, political
dialogue and settlement will need to be part of any durable solution
82. It is not for the UK to reconcile with those elements
fighting in opposition to the Afghan Government. This process
must be Afghan-led. The degree to which the UK can input into
reconciliation will therefore be limited; progress on this agenda
(or a lack of it) will be determined by the Afghans. President
Karzai has made clear that the Government of Afghanistan is ready
to talk to those who will abide by the Afghan constitution, renounce
violence and have no close operational links to Al-Qaeda. The
UK is supportive and ready to offer assistance to Afghan-led efforts
to engage with those who fall within these boundaries. As yet,
the military conditions have not been right and very few commanders
have defected. However, in December 2007, the Afghan Government
recaptured the town of Musa Qaleh with the help of Mullah Salam,
a former Taleb, whose reconciliation was instrumental in bringing
the town back under government control following its capture in
83. The UK was previously supporting the ProgrammeTalkh-e-Solh,
the official Afghan body responsible for reconciliation, established
in May 2005 and led by Professor Mojaddedi, a former interim President
of Afghanistan and speaker of the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House).
Its primary goal was to encourage and provide former enemy combatants
with an opportunity to recognise the Government of Afghanistan
as legitimate, and to lead normal lives as part of wider society.
However, a number of weaknesses in the programme, including lack
of validation, monitoring and credibility, led the UK, in March
2008 and in concert with the Dutch and US, to suspend support
in an effort to leverage reforms. UK financial support totalled
£500,000 from 1 January to 31 March 2007, and £870,000
from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.
84. The Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG)
is now leading central Government efforts to co-ordinate provincial-level
reconciliation efforts led by Provincial Governors, and is developing
guidance. The UK is ready to provide financial support to Governor
Mangal's efforts to take forward reconciliation in Helmand, when
he and the central Government have developed an implementation
85. Prince Saud confirmed in late October that Saudi
Arabia had hosted a meeting between the Afghan Government and
former Taleban insurgents during the month of Ramadan and at the
invitation of the Afghan Government. The UK supports initiatives
such as this, which are designed to start the process of dialogue
between the Government and the insurgency. But there will be no
86. Years of external occupation and internal war, poor
service delivery and widespread unemployment and poverty have
led to a breakdown in traditional governance institutions in many
parts of Afghanistan. This has undermined the relationship between
communities and government institutions and has weakened the ability
of both state and community-based governance structures to deliver
social stability and peace. In constitutional terms, Afghanistan
has a centralised administration under a powerful head of state.
At sub-national level, representation is largely through informal
and tribal structures. Government efforts are underway to formalise
these into a coherent sub-national governance structure.
87. Governance in Afghanistan has made progress in service
delivery and accountability. Improvements have been concentrated
at central government level, and nationally, in the fields of
health, education and community development. At the sub-national
level, Provincial Council elections took place in 2005. District
Council elections were originally scheduled to take place at the
same time but because district numbers, boundaries and population
figures were yet to be determined, they were postponed. The lack
of District Council elections left a hole in local level governance
that the Afghan Government and international community has struggled
88. The IDLG was set up by President Karzai in 2007 to help
tackle these issues, with a mandate to extend sub-national governance.
The IDLG is now implementing its strategic workplan, which has
three main pillars: (i) policy development, (ii) institution building,
and (iii) broader governance. The IDLG works to reform and restructure
the administration of a range of insecure provinces in the south
and southeast by establishing better relationships with district
tribal leaders, building stronger sub-national governance institutions
including governors' offices, and improving accountability between
central government and citizens to increase stability and Afghan
89. The UK provided £1 million support to the IDLG
in 2007-08, and is working closely with other donors to determine
collectively how IDLG can best be supported in the medium term.
Funding has also been approved to support IDLG's broad mandate
on sub-national governance. Funds are being used to buy-in qualified
capacity in niche areas, to support internal restructuring and
reforms and to support IDLG's facilitation of a cross-government
policy process on sub-national governance. Much of the UK's involvement
so far has focussed on helping IDLG develop its strategic workplan.
90. In Helmand province the CMMH is working with the
Afghan authorities to produce a governance roadmap for Helmand.
The aim is to agree a single 12-18 month plan for priority governance
reforms, against which resources can be mobilised. The governance
roadmap will focus on raising the profile of Provincial Government
in Helmand, bridging the gap between the province and Kabul, building
the capacity of the province's administration to meet the needs
of the population, and ensuring that resources are used effectively.
The UK is also developing increased support to civil society groups
to monitor Afghan Government performance, in areas such as provincial
budget monitoring and service delivery.
91. But national reforms have been delayed and we are
now at a key turning point. Without renewed progress the governance
situation could worsen. Rule of law and basic security is lacking
for large parts of the population. The heavily centralised nature
of the Government prescribed by the Constitution has (in the absence
of adequate institutional capacity) hampered the quality and accountability
of service delivery at the local level. Measures to improve stabilisation
and governance need to be undertaken by the Afghan Government,
with co-ordinated international support.
92. Work still needs to be done to strengthen sub-national
governance institutions. The Afghan Government's new sub-national
governance policy (September 2008) will need to be translated
into legislation and then implemented. Resources need to be distributed
equitably across provinces and districts and local/national budgeting
processes need to be better informed by local conditions.
93. The sub-national governance policy aims to clarify
the roles and responsibilities within institutions at various
lower levels of government: governors, municipalities, mayors,
and elected bodies. IDLG will support institutional reform and
development of bodies such as provincial and district governors,
municipalities and Provincial Councils. A five-year programme
of infrastructure IT and communications upgrading will be implemented.
There will be a focus on engaging participation in governance,
with women and young people a priority, as well as tribal outreach.
IDLG also needs to tackle corruption in sub-national bodies and
plans for this are still being developed. Other areas needing
development include: delivering governance in vulnerable districts;
integrating formal and informal structures; improving policing
and community security; and improving strategic communications.
94. In parallel, IDLG has also launched the Afghan Social
Outreach Programme (ASOP) to strengthen the link between the local
communities and the Afghan Government, and enable them to play
more of a role in their own security and development. ASOP will
establish community councils of 30-40 influential residents, which
will be involved in drawing up District Development Plans that
reflect communities' needs. In November 2008 the UK signed a Memorandum
of Understanding pledging its support for roll out of ASOP in
Helmand. The UK has a $260,000 budget for this financial year
to support ASOP pilots in four districts of Helmand Province;
Nad-e-Ali, Garmsir, Gereshk and Musa Qaleh.
95. The UK has also committed in principle to support
an IDLG initiative to introduce performance based budgeting for
Provincial Governors. This initiative is based on a model used
effectively in other conflict-affected countries. In the longer
term, the only sustainable solution for governance is to build
the capacity of the Afghan Government to deliver services to its
people, and allow them to hold their government to account. Improving
accountability, government performance and resolving the relationship
between informal and formal structures will put governance on
a more sustainable footing.
Rule of Law
96. In 2001 there were virtually no rule of law institutions
or processes in Afghanistan. The lack of a functioning central
government, modern constitution, legal code and effective formal
justice system resulted in a state with little internal security
or stability. The absence of a national police force allowed tribal
militias and other non-state groups to impose their will on the
general population; to commit human rights abuses regularly; and
to engage in predatory corruption. The formal justice system dispensed
an extreme form of Sharia-based justice on a regular basis with
limited compliance with international standards for human rights
and virtually no mechanisms to appeal sentences. Almost all disputes
were settled through the informal system by village elders or
religious figures using traditional tribal ethics codes, such
as Pashtunwali, or Sharia. There was no capacity (or willingness)
to investigate and prosecute narcotics trafficking offences. The
few prisons and detention facilities that existed were mostly
run by private individuals who often committed serious human rights
abuses against prisoners with impunity. Endemic corruption often
allowed the guilty to remain unpunished and forced financial and
physical burdens on the wider population.
97. The Interim Afghan Administration and subsequent governments
created the 2003 Constitution which established rule of law institutions
such as the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court and Attorney General's
Office. In April 2003, a Presidential Degree on Police Reform
outlined the role and structure of the Ministry of Interior and
Afghanistan's police forces, including the ANP.
Afghan National Police
98. The US is the largest contributor to police reform
in Afghanistan, investing $2.5 billion each year. As G8 Lead Nation,
Germany re-established the ANP Training Academy in Kabul in August
2002 and between 2002 and 2006 trained over 4,000 officers in
a range of policing skills such as criminal investigation and
riot control. Germany has also supplied approximately 80
million worth of infrastructure and equipment. The policing lead
has now passed to the EU Policing Mission (EUPOL) which began
in June 2007. EUPOL provides strategic advice and mentoring for
senior officials in the Ministry of the Interior and ANP, as well
as providing training in specialised areas such as criminal investigation
and forensics. EUPOL also works to strengthen wider rule of law
institutions such as the Attorney General's Office. As of December
2008, there were 176 policing and rule of law experts from 21
different countries in EUPOL, and the mission was delivering training
and mentoring in 14 Provinces.
National contribution of experts to EU Police Mission (EUPOL) (as at 18 December 2008)
99. As of January 2009, the UK was the third largest
contributor to the EUPOL police reform mission, with 15 officers
or retired officers deployed in Kabul and Helmand. These officers
perform a wide range of duties including advising the Deputy Minister
of the Interior on police reform, developing training programmes
for uniformed police and teaching criminal investigation techniques
to criminal investigation department officers. In Helmand they
have been helping the Head of Police develop a provincial policing
100. Alongside Germany's programme of specialised training,
the US provided paramilitary-type training to over 76,000 patrolmen
between 2004 and 2007. In November 2007, the US launched a new
police training programme for patrolmen called Focussed District
Development (FDD), providing a range of survival and basic policing
skills in all of Afghanistan's districts in a rolling programme
over four years. The UK provides three police officers to the
CSTC-A who provide strategic level civilian policing advice on
the implementation of the FDD as well as other programmes. Between
November 2007 and December 2008, FDD and other US training programmes
have been delivered to just over 25,000 policemen. As of December
2008, the total size of the ANP is just over 76,000 patrolmen.
101. Whilst the ANP continue to suffer from serious problems
such as corruption stemming from the narcotics trade, low levels
of literacy and heavy casualties as a result of fighting the insurgency,
some progress is being made. In March 2008, the Afghan Government
completed a Pay and Rank Reform process which rationalised the
salary and ranking structure of the ANP, ensuring an agreed national
pay scale for officers and reducing the numbers of senior ranks
to create a more balanced force structure. In August 2008, the
Afghan Government and the international community agreed a Police
Vision which outlines the values of the police force, and further
work is underway to develop a police plan setting out strategic
priorities and activities. The Ministry of the Interior under
the leadership of Hanif Atmar, is working with both EUPOL and
the CSTC-A to tackle issues such as corruption and kidnapping
and more effectively co-ordinate police reform.
102. The Policing Plan should allow the international
community to identify where assistance is most required and where
to target resources most effectively. The EUPOL and US Police
Reform missions are increasingly working together on a range of
projects, including supporting the reform of the Ministry of Interior,
strengthening the police and security forces in Kabul and enhancing
the effectiveness of the FDD programme.
103. The UK has also played a major role in the establishment
of the Counter-Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA). The CNPA
is the lead drug law enforcement agency of the Afghan Government,
is currently just over 2,700 officers strong, and has a presence
in all 34 provinces. The CNPA also contains the Afghan Special
Narcotics Force (ASNF) which is mentored by UK personnel. The
UK has provided equipment, training and mentoring at the Provincial
level to the CNPA to improve its abilities to interdict narcotics
smugglers. Both the ASNF and the CNPA are making an impact on
the narcotics industry. The ASNF made the world's largest narcotics
seizure in June 2008, and the Helmand detachment of the CNPA seized
17.7 metric tonnes of poppy seed in November 2008enough
to seed over three thousand acres of farmland with opium poppies.
104. In Helmand, the UK is providing advice and training
to both the ANP and the CNPA to improve their narcotics interdiction
capabilities, organisational systems, and human rights compliance.
The UK has developed a comprehensive approach to supporting police
development in Helmand, utilising resources drawn from EUPOL,
the MOD Police and the military. This has allowed influence to
be exerted at the strategic, operational and tactical levels of
policing (provincial, districts and local communities).
105. Despite this, there is still more to do. Huge challenges
remain in building the capacity and capability of the ANP. Strong
leadership from within the Ministry of Interior is essential to
tackle embedded problems of corruption within the Ministry itself,
the police and other parts of the criminal justice system, as
well as in providing a clear vision of the reforms required to
build a national police force. There will be an ongoing requirement
for continued technical support to the police, as part of wider
efforts in support of the rule of law sector.
106. A deteriorating security situation has pushed the
police ever-closer to becoming a state security force, with no
form of proper accountability or connection to community needs.
There is a real danger of isolating the police from communities
and their basic function of upholding the law. International effort
should be directed towards police reform and away from further
para-militarisation. The short to medium-term aim is have the
Afghan Government leading and supporting the ANP to provide basic
security and policing functions in areas cleared by ANA/ISAF counter-insurgency
efforts, and in the longer term to link into community government
mechanisms. Overall, the challenge is to build a fully functioning,
accountable police force that operates without international support.
107. Italy led the international community's work on
justice reform, with the drafting of a National Justice Sector
Strategy (NJSS) and, alongside the UK, led the creation of the
National Justice Programme (NJP) which delivers administrative
reform, develops infrastructure and improves justice service delivery.
Since 2003, the Afghan Parliament has passed a variety of new
laws including a 2005 law on counter-narcotics. The international
community has assisted with the creation of facilities, such as
courts and law libraries, and the training of judges and prosecutors
across Afghanistan through a range of bilateral and multilateral
projects. In August 2005 the US established the Justice Sector
Support Programme (JSSP) which provides a range of training and
support across the formal and informal justice sectors. The EU
has allocated $60 million of funding between 2006 and 2010 for
a range of initiatives. The US allocated approximately $67 million
of funding in 2007 and 2008 and has provided a wide range of projects
including the reform of the Supreme Court, legal education for
prosecutors, support in drafting civil and criminal law (including
counter-narcotics) and gender access schemes.
108. The UK has played a lead role in developing the Criminal
Justice Task Force (CJTF) and the Central Narcotics Tribunal (CNT)
since their establishment in 2005. The CJTF is an Afghan institution
which investigates and prosecutes suspected narcotics traffickers,
and the CNT is the body through which cases are tried and appealed.
The UK provides both financial support and mentors to the CJTF
to improve its capability to successfully prosecute narcotics
smugglers under international standards. From June to November
2008, the CJTF secured 133 convictions before the Primary Court
of the CNT and 125 before the Appeal Court.
109. We estimate that over 90% of justice in Afghanistan
is delivered through the informal system and it is vital for the
international community to engage more actively here, especially
in developing linkages with the formal system. The NJSS also includes
a commitment that the Afghan Government will develop policies
to ensure compatibility of the informal justice systems with the
laws of the country and with the principles and values of human
rights, and makes useful reference to linking the two systems
together eg by providing rights of judicial review. Further policy
development is clearly needed and we will support the Afghan Government
in this area, building on our work in Helmand, where we are working
with both the formal and informal systems. We have assisted with
the development of local shuras to help solve community disputes,
which strengthen and build links between the Afghan Government
and local communities. In addition we have also helped develop
a Prisoner Review system which links tribal elders to the formal
justice system. We have also helped to improve access to justice
for vulnerable groups such as women and children, through the
creation of a Women and Children's Justice Group in Lashkar Gah
and the provision of training courses to female inmates in Lashkar
110. The Afghan judicial system also needs to expand
its capacity and capability to prosecute high value targets in
the narcotics trade and corruption cases. Alongside progress in
this area, we are encouraging the Afghan Government to take a
more pro-active lead on investigating and prosecuting corrupt
individuals, especially those in the police and senior government
positions as essential to improve public confidence in central
government. Key priorities include developing Afghan capacity,
in terms of investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial capabilities
(especially for the security of judges and prosecutors) and penal
facilities, to take on corruption cases; and encouraging the Afghan
Government to become more transparent and address the concerns
of Parliamentarians and civil society.
111. Progress has also been made in improving Afghanistan's
prison infrastructure, with improvements made to the Pol-E-Charki
prison outside of Kabul and a wider programme of prison building
across Afghanistan, including two new large US-funded prisons
in Wardak and Baghlan provinces, to improve conditions for prisoners
and other detainees and ensure that those who have served their
sentence have been released.
112. The UK is assisting with the reform of the wider
Afghan prison system, with the provision of a five-strong training
team from HM Prison Service who provide human rights training
to Afghan prison officers. The UK has also funded the development
of a special wing of the Pol-E-Charki prison outside Kabul to
house narcotics offenders and is supporting the construction of
a new prison in Lashkar Gah in Helmand.
113. Significant challenges remain in modernising Afghanistan's
prison infrastructure and reforming the Central Prison Department
(CPD). The poor state of most prison physical buildings in Afghanistan
is exacerbated by the limited training given to most CPD staff,
and the welfare of detainees remains a serious concern. Improving
infrastructure, in particular improving security features to prevent
mass escapes such as occurred at the Sarposa Prison in Kandahar
in June 2008, is essential to ensuring the guilty remain under
the control of the state. The CPD also needs support to recruit,
train and mentor prison staff to ensure prisons are staffed by
competent professionals; that prisoners' human rights are protected;
and that sentences are fully served.
114. The international community has regularly lobbied
the Afghan Government to make a strong stand against corruption,
especially against corrupt police officers and government officials,
whose activities undermine the Afghan population's trust in government.
The international community has provided anti-corruption experts
to develop transparent financial systems and processes to minimise
the risk of funds being misused. In 2007 the UK, UN, World Bank
and Asian Development Bank produced an anti-corruption roadmap
identifying where the Afghan Government could best target its
resources against corruption networks. In September 2008 President
Karzai announced the creation of an Anti-Corruption Commission
which will seek to investigate allegations of corruption in the
115. The UK is playing a key role in helping the Afghan Government
to tackle corruption, with the provision of civilian experts to
work with the Afghan Government to develop transparent financial
processes in key ministries. In addition, officers from the Serious
Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) are working to improve the capabilities
of Afghan law enforcement to tackle serious and organised criminality,
and associated corruption. On 15 December 2008, the Prime Minister
announced to Parliament his offer of a Multi Agency Anti-Corruption
Task Force to assist the Afghan Government tackle corruption.
The Task Force will be a cross-departmental unit, made up of representatives
from DFID, FCO, SOCA, Crown Prosecution Service, and Crown Office
Procurator Fiscal Service. An enhancement of an existing cross-embassy
working group, the new Task Force will support the Government
of Afghanistan's own anti-corruption efforts and will work alongside
international partners. The Task Force will liaise regularly with
the Afghan Government's High Office of Oversight, which is the
Afghan Government's lead anti-corruption institution, and other
relevant Afghan Government institutions.
116. Strengthening the rule of law across Afghanistan
is a long-term endeavour. It will require significant financial
and human resources for many years to come. Urgently required
resources include civilian expertise to improve the capacity of
Afghan Government institutions to manage and lead reform programmes
themselves; for skilled and experienced police officers to advise
the Afghan police through the EUPOL and US police reform programmes;
and in the justice sector for civilian expertise in particular
to help develop linkages between the informal and formal justice
sectors to allow a greater proportion of the Afghan population
access to appropriate justice system. Alongside additional resources,
enhanced co-ordination between all of the government and NGO actors
engaged in rule of law reform can improve delivery of reform projects
and help identify priorities.
117. Afghanistan's human rights record was amongst the
worst in the world in 2001. Taleban rule prevented women from
working or receiving an education and religious and ethnic minorities
were persecuted. Freedom of expression was severely restricted
and many journalists fled the country or were killed. Those who
survived within the country did so by strictly censoring their
own work. With the economy in tatters, poverty had also taken
its toll. Government agencies, where they existed, barely functioned
and the population was left without protection or essential services.
118. Promoting human rights and democracy is integral to stability
and security. Central to this effort and to improving the overall
human rights situation is developing Afghan capacity to provide
security, rule of law, development, democracy and good governance.
We are supporting this in a range of ways, detailed elsewhere
in this report, through a clear comprehensive approach, joining
up our civilian and military effort to ensure maximum effectiveness.
But building Afghan capacity will be a long-term endeavour.
119. The Bonn Agreement set out the road-map leading
to successful national elections in 2004-05 to establish a democratic
and representative government (see section on Politics and Reconciliation).
Following a successful Constitutional Loya Jirga, a new Constitution
was signed by President Karzai on 26 January 2004, a significant
achievement. Key human rights provisions in the Constitution include:
basic obligation of the state to protect human
rights (many of which, political, economic and social, are elaborated);
equal rights for men and women;
discrimination made illegal;
commitment on the part of the state to abide by
the core international human rights conventions to which it is
minority language rights and provisions for religious
freedom of expression protected.
120. The new Constitution also confirmed the status of
the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Established
in June 2002 and still chaired by Dr Sima Samar, the Commission
has a particular focus on the rights of women, children and minorities.
121. The London Conference on Afghanistan (31 January
to 1 February 2006) was co-chaired by the UK, the UN and the Afghan
Government. Over 60 delegates endorsed Afghanistan's Interim National
Development Strategy and the Afghan National Drug Control Strategy,
and launched the Afghanistan Compact (the successor to the Bonn
Agreement). The Compact set out how the Afghan Government and
the international community were to contribute to the reconstruction
process and included specific commitments to improving human rights:
"By end-2010: The Government's capacity to comply with
and report on its human rights treaty obligations will be strengthened;
Government security and law enforcement agencies will adopt corrective
measures, including codes of conduct and procedures aimed at preventing
arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, extortion and illegal
expropriation of property with a view to the elimination of these
practices; the exercise of freedom of expression, including freedom
of media, will be strengthened; human rights awareness will be
included in education curricula and promoted among legislators,
judicial personnel and other Government agencies, communities
and the public; human rights monitoring will be carried out by
the Government and independently by the Afghanistan Independent
Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), and the UN will track the effectiveness
of measures aimed at the protection of human rights; the AIHRC
will be supported in the fulfilment of its objectives with regard
to monitoring, investigation, protection and promotion of human
rights. The implementation of the Action Plan on Peace, Justice
and Reconciliation will be completed by end-2008".
122. Afghanistan has now ratified all the core human
123. Although much remains to be done, hard work and
significant investment by the Afghan Government, supported by
the international community, is having an impact, for example
gradually realising people's rights to freedom of expression,
equality and a standard of living adequate for their health and
there is now one government-run, 16 independent
TV channels, around 290 newspapers and 60 independent radio stations;
6 million children are enrolled in school, over
a third of whom are girls, and over a quarter of seats in the
Lower House of the Afghan Parliament are now held by women;
infant mortality rates declined from an estimated
165 per 1,000 live births in 2001 to about 129 per 1,000 in 2005equivalent
to around 40,000 more babies surviving per year now than in 2002;
since 2000, under-5 mortality rates have dropped
from around one in four to around one in five;
the proportion of women receiving antenatal care
increased from 5% in 2003 to 30% in 2006; and
82% of people now have access to basic healthcare,
compared to 9% in 2002.
124. Ensuring security is vital for protecting human
rights. The security situation in Afghanistan remains challenging.
The insurgents continue to target innocent civiliansincluding
beheadings, kidnappings, suicide bombings and attacks on NGO workers
and schoolchildren. In November a group of schoolgirls and their
teachers in Kandahar suffered severe burns after acid was sprayed
into their faces by members of the Taleban. The attack was condemned
by the Afghan Government as "un-Islamic".
125. Afghans have embraced their right to choose their own
leaders democraticallydemonstrated by the successful elections
held in 2004 and 2005. Presidential and Provincial Council elections
are currently due to be held in autumn 2009 and Parliamentary
and District Council elections in spring 2010. As the earlier
section on Politics and Reconciliation details, we and the international
community are helping to realise the Afghan people's right to
126. Many women in Afghanistan still face significant
hardships and unequal treatmentin part due to poverty and
insecurity, and in part due to deeply held cultural views. A lack
of legal protection and inadequate access to justice increases
the risks women face in a society where the rule of law is still
weak. Outspoken women still face severe risksas demonstrated
by the murder of the country's most prominent policewoman in Kandahar
127. The UK works to enhance the status of women in three
main ways: through policy engagement with the Afghan Government;
through support for national programmes and services, which benefit
women; and through bilateral programmes. We regularly discuss
women's rights with members of the Afghan Government, Afghan Parliamentarians
128. The majority of our financial support is channelled
through the Afghan Government, since gender inequality is a deeply
embedded and long-term problem which needs a strategic approach.
We worked with the Afghan Government to ensure that gender equality
was integrated into the ANDS and that women are fully reflected
in the development process. We have committed over £35 million
to support the Afghan Government's micro-finance programme, giving
women in particular better access to finance.
129. The UK is giving £500,000 to support a women's
empowerment programme, implemented by the NGO Womankind (running
2005-10). The programme focuses on promoting women's equal participation
in governance; building awareness of women's rights among civil
society and policy makers; and on providing educational, health,
community and psycho-social support to women affected by violence
130. But we also work with local and international NGOs.
The AIHRC now has representatives in Helmand province, who are
helping support the new Women and Children's Justice Group, established
in Lashkar Gah in August 2008. Run by prominent female members
of the community, the group is developing and implementing practical
programmes on the ground to support women and children's rights
and justice issues.
131. Afghanistan retains the death penalty under the
new Constitution. All death sentences require the approval of
the President. 16 criminals, convicted of serious crimes, have
been executed since 7 November 2008. These were the first executions
carried out since 15 men were executed on 8 October 2007. A moratorium
on executions ended on 20 April 2004 when President Karzai authorised
the execution of Abdullah Shah, a militia commander accused of
cannibalism, torture and murder. The death penalty had not been
used again until the 8 October 2007 executions. The resumption
of executions has been a highly popular move among Afghans.
132. The UK is strongly opposed to the use of the death
penalty by any state and have regularly made our views on this
subject known to the Afghan Government. We were very concerned
to learn that the Afghan Government resumed executions on 7 November
2008. Regarding this latest use of the death penalty, we have
raised our concerns in partnership with the EU, as well as bilaterally
with the Afghan Government, including at Ministerial level.
133. If we have concerns about a particular case, we
will raise them with the Afghan authorities. On 21 October, the
Afghan Appeal Court announced that the sentence of Afghan Journalism
student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh (who had been convicted and sentenced
to death for distributing literature relating to women's rights
and Islam) was commuted to 20 years in prison. We have serious
concerns about the fairness of this and the original trial, and
the verdict reached. We are following the case closely and, in
conjunction with our international partners, are raising it with
the relevant Afghan authorities.
134. Intimidation of journalists remains a concern. The
UK has intervened in individual cases where journalists' freedom
has been threatened. September 2008 saw the passing of a progressive
media law, although the Afghan Government currently lacks the
capacity to enforce this in a way that will have significant impact
in the near future. We are working with both the BBC World Service
and the BBC World Service Trust (the World Service's charitable
arm) on projects to improve and develop the media in Afghanistan.
For example, we are involving female Afghan journalists in "Afghan
Woman's Hour" which informs and empowers women in Afghanistan.
135. The Afghan Constitution (Article 2) provides for
freedom of religion. But abuses continue to occur. In February
2006, for example, Abdul Rahman, a 41-year-old Afghan citizen,
was arrested in Kabul following a domestic dispute. During the
court proceedings, it emerged that he had converted to Christianity
16 years earlier. The UK lobbied on his behalf. Despite widespread
speculation that Rahman would be charged with apostasy, the case
was adjourned, apparently on a technicality. Abdul Rahman left
Afghanistan and was granted asylum in Italy.
136. Since 2001 the UK has given over £1.75 million
to support the AIHRC, and will give a further £200,000 this
financial year to support its 2009-10 Action Plan. The AIHRC has
over 500 staff across Afghanistanfrom Badakhshan in the
north to Helmand in the southactively tackling issues such
as women's rights, child rights and false imprisonment, as well
reporting on concerns.
137. In addition to supporting the AIHRC and small Afghan
NGOs, we are also working with the United Nations Development
Programme and international partners to create a Human Rights
Support Unit in the Afghan Ministry of Justice. This Unit will
support and co-ordinate Afghan Government efforts to protect and
promote human rights.
138. Statistics from 2001 show that Afghanistan was in
a bleak economic position;
Afghanistan ranked 169 out of 174 countries in the UN Human Development
Index (1996). This ranking is unlikely to have improved between
1996 and 2001. Life expectancy was only a little over 40 years,
and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was estimated at $150-180one
of the poorest in the world. 60-80% of the population were estimated
to live below a dollar a day
and the UNDP said in its report: "Afghanistan is worse off
than almost any country in the world. The country's social and
economic indicators are comparable, or lower than the indicators
for sub-Saharan Africa". The formal banking system had totally
collapsed and the opium sector was the only sector to flourish,
with the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimating that
the industry was worth $91 million.
139. By 2001-02 the estimate for licit GDP was $2.5 billion.
Millions faced starvation, with the UN estimating that a third
of the population needed food aid. Infrastructure had been severely
damaged and traditional irrigation system had suffered from destruction
and lack of maintenance. Agricultural production was limited,
industry had ceased functioning and most skilled professionals
had left the country. Even without official statistics, it is
very clear that the economy, trade and the private sector were
all in a dire state.
140. There has been considerable progress made across most
areas of the economy since 2001. However, even with this progress,
Afghanistan remains poor and is still at the very early stages
of its economic development. Making progress to a fully functioning
economy is only achievable over the long term. Nevertheless there
have been significant achievements:
economic growth (excluding the opium sector) averaged
15% between 2002-07, taking licit GDP to an estimated $12.8 billion
in 2008. GDP per capita, while still extremely low is significantly
higher than 2001 at $290;
inflation has begun to stabilise in recent yearsreaching
as low as 5% in 2006, although this year's high global commodity
prices saw an uptick in inflation once more;
licit trade has increased dramatically with exports
growing at double-digit levels, reaching over an estimated $2
billion this year;
unemployment remains extremely high, but given
the lack of statistics prior to 2001, it is difficult to compare
the improvements that have been made; and
opium, remains a driver of overall economic growth,
but in 2008 is estimated to account for a smaller percentage of
the economy than in earlier years.
141. Progress has also been made on the economic policy
the introduction of the new currency in 2002;
the tax code was restructured and clarified in
customs tariffs have been rationalized, existing
trade agreements have been renewed and new agreements entered
142. The private sector, while still in its infancy is
the Telecoms sector is an example how real progress
in a sector can be made, with rapid expansion and international
the financial sector has also seen significant
improvements, with 15 banks now operating in Afghanistan. The
central bank has been supportive of the financial sector, and
just recently demonstrated decisive action in response to the
global financial crisis; and
on a smaller scale, microfinance has been a successful
tool in Afghanistan, with the Microfinance Institutions issuing
over £150 million worth of small loans to over 400,000 Afghans.
143. However, there clearly remains many obstacles to
the private sector, not least infrastructure and corruption.
144. The UK's new Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility
(AICF) is an independent private-public partnership (funded by
donors and the private sector), that is led and run by the Afghan
private sector. The Prime Minister pledged £30 million over
the next three financial years to the AICF. It will be a proactive
and responsive grant facility providing catalytic support to reduce
barriers to doing business such as regulatory reform and cumbersome
procedures. As a financier rather than an implementer, the AICF
is designed as a fast acting, facilitating mechanism that will
work strategically with existing initiatives and stakeholders
to address key gaps in reforming priority areas of the investment
145. The UK also supports the Afghanistan Investment
Guarantee Facility, designed to help bridge the gap between investors'
desires to tap business opportunities in the country and concerns
about political risks. The facility, administered by the Multilateral
Investment Guarantee Agency, aims to mitigate key risks for foreign
investors by providing political risk guarantees (insurance) for
their investments. The UK contributes £1 million to the facility.
146. The UK has been supporting the development of rural
and alternative livelihoods, as part of wider economic development,
and as part of the Afghan Government's counter-narcotics strategy.
As part of this support, the UK spent over £33 million on
improving opportunities for Afghan livelihoods in 2006-07 and
expects to spend a similar amount this year. Activities include
the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) which
has established over 18,000 Community Development Councils across
Afghanistan to implement projects in some of the most remote and
poorest communities; and
the Micro Finance Investment Support Facility
of Afghanistan (MISFA) which helps Afghans set up and expand small
businesses. MISFA has issued over £150 million worth of small
loans to over 400,000 Afghans, to help Afghans running small businesses.
Over 70% of MISFA's beneficiaries are women, amongst the poorest
147. The UK has also given £18 million over three
years to the National Rural Access Programme, which has generated
over 14.3 million days of labour. Around 9,700 km of rural roads
have been built or repaired, as well as schools, health clinics
and water schemes. The UK has also provided training and mentoring
to help establish the Central Bank.
148. There are many challenges for the Afghan economy:
infrastructure, while better, remains poor; human capacity is
low; access to markets is often extremely difficult; trade arrangements
with Pakistan and others are difficult; corruption is high; rule
of law is to a low standard; and the population remains poor.
149. The ANDS, launched in June 2008, includes economic
development as a key component. It is important that the UK and
other international players ensure that economic development fits
within the remit of the ANDS. The UK therefore supports the ANDS
and designs economic development programmes to support and complement
the plan. The UK will also use facilities such as the AICF to
identify what barriers can be broken down to support the Afghan
150. From the non-governmental side, the international
community will play an increasingly important role. Trade has
been a driver of growth in recent years and it will be important
that regional economies have trade polices, regional networks,
and domestic economic strength conducive to further expansion.
Further afield, international investment in the mining industries
may also play a role for stimulating the Afghan economy.
Millennium Development Goals
151. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were
agreed at the United Nations in September 2000, and form a blueprint
to reduce extreme poverty according to a series of time-bound
targets with a deadline of 2015. In light of its recent history,
the UN has granted Afghanistan the right to modify the international
MDG framework. The baseline is taken as 2000, with a target date
of 2020. The list of indicators has also been adapted, adding
additional detail on security. But data remain poor and often
152. Despite these changes, Afghanistan is off-track for most
of the MDG targets. Extreme poverty and hunger (MDG1) is worsening,
with analysis suggesting an increase in relative poverty between
2007 and 2008 from 42% of the population to an estimated 52%,
due to food prices. Progress has been made on achieving universal
education (MDG2) and gender equality (MDG3), with 6 million children
now enrolled in school, a third of which are girls, and 25% of
parliament seats reserved for women. It is likely that child mortality
(MDG4) has reducedimmunisation has certainly increasedbut
the under-five mortality rate of 191 per 1,000 live births is
well above the target of 76.
153. Data is too weak to make accurate assessments of
trends for MDG5 (on maternal health) and MDG6 (HIV/AIDS, malaria).
Performance on environmental sustainability (MDG7) has been mixed,
with access to water improving (now at 32% of the population)
but access to sanitation facilities remaining low at 7%. On global
aid partnerships too (MDG8) progress has been mixed, with aid
increasingly untied and partnerships forming between donors, government
and the private sector, but youth unemployment high and little
progress on the trade system. The Afghanistan-specific target
on security (MDG9) reflects good progress on reforms of the ANA,
but the actual security situation remaining extremely challenging.
154. There are numerous reasons for this mixed progress.
The vulnerability of the Afghan poor is extremely high given the
nature of the security situation and both economic (rising food
and fuel prices) and natural shocks (droughts). Inequalities based
on social identity and geographical location are starkly evident
and services are failing to reach both the poor and the non-poor.
The challenge lies in cementing gains made, expanding coverage
and quality of services and preventing reversals in progress.
155. The impact of prolonged conflict, poor government
service delivery and the insurgency has been felt most acutely
by women and the very young, as shown by health and education
indicators. In the 2004-05 national elections only 32% of voters
registered were women. Both the formal and informal justice systems
are biased against women, and access is extremely limited. Yet
according to a December 2008 study from the RAND corporation,
perceptions of "security" among Afghans are closely
linked to equity of access to basic services, and so increased
inclusion of women within development and governance initiatives
can be an important stabilising influence.
156. Starting from a low service delivery base in 2001,
achievements particularly in setting up health and education services
have been impressive. Almost 85% of districts have access to primary
health care. But the scale of the challenge requires long-term
investments to improve access and quality of coverage across the
country. An estimated 11 million Afghans are illiterate, and there
is a critical shortage of basic as well as higher level skills
in the population. The gross enrolment rate in tertiary education
is 1%, the lowest by far of any country in the region.
157. The social and economic development pillar of the
ANDS in particular targets achievement of the MDGs: education,
health, agriculture, irrigation and infrastructure growth comprise
62% of the ANDS budgetary allocation. The international community
committed $21 billion in support of the ANDS.
158. The ANDS estimates that a projected $50.3 billion
will be required to address Afghanistan's reconstruction and development
needs in the period to 2012-13. The UK is the second largest bilateral
contributor to the portion of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust
Fund (ARTF) (an internationally managed fund created in 2002 to
support the Afghan Government's running costs and investment needs)
which covers the Afghan Government's recurrent spendingfinancing
most of its service delivery functions. We have pledged to deliver
at least 50% of our total aid to Afghanistan through government
channels over the next four years, ensuring it has the maximum
opportunity to ensure Afghan ownership of the prioritisation process;
and to enhance the co-ordination of donor funding.
159. In the immediate post-conflict period, Afghanistan's
health services were in a deplorable state. Availability and quality
of health services were highly variable across provinces and between
urban and rural areas. Only 5% of women had access to antenatal
care in 2001; in 2002, only 9% of people lived in a district with
access to a basic healthcare package; and the under-five mortality
rate in 2003 was 257 per 1,000 live births. Major constraints
included a lack of managerial and service delivery capacity within
the Ministry of Public Health; a lack of physical infrastructure
and qualified personnel; poor distribution of financial and human
resources; and, uncoordinated and undirected efforts of the NGOs.
160. In response, the Ministry of Public Health and the major
donors developed in early 2002 a new Basic Package of Health Services
(BPHS). Independent evaluations show that the Ministry of Public
Health has made considerable progress in making the BPHS accessible
to most Afghans. By 2006, 82% of districts had access to the BPHS.
30% of women in rural areas now have access to skilled antenatal
care, and the under-5 mortality rate has declined from 257 to
191 per 1,000 live births.
161. In Helmand, the UK-led PRT has included the re-establishment
of basic health care across the province as a key area within
their stabilisation planning and delivery activities. Over the
last year the PRT has helped the Helmand Provincial Director of
Health to plan and implement a Health Support Programme throughout
the Province. This included helping restore basic health clinics
in the districts of Musa Qaleh, Gereshk, Sangin and Garmsir, as
well as renovating the main referral hospital in Lashkar Gah.
162. Progress has been made, but there is still a need
for long term investment in the government's ability to deliver
and regulate universal health service delivery. Despite the improvements
noted above, maternal and infant mortality remain amongst the
highest in the world. Variations are wide: in rural areas only
19% of births are attended by skilled health staff. Geographical
and security reasons for not seeking care are significant, but
there are additional problems related to people's willingness
and ability to seek appropriate services, including the availability
of other sources of treatment such as private providers or traditional
healers in the marketplace. Gender discrimination in access to
services as well as physical distance also restricts accessonly
a quarter of women use health facilities even when they are close
163. The international community will remain central
to supporting the Afghan Government's efforts to address these
challenges. The US Agency for International Development, the European
Commission, the World Bank and the UN are the major donors involved:
between them, donors fund almost 70% of the health budget. The
UK will continue to deliver a programme to meet immediate health
needs in Helmand. Nationally, the extensive range of well-funded
donors acting in this field leads us to assess that our efforts
are best spent lobbying others to co-ordinate their support, while
we focus on issues of particular need and UK expertise in economic
growth and employment generation rather than social sectors.
164. Severe food shortages in Afghanistan, resulting
from rapidly rising global food prices and a poor harvest due
to drought, have left at least 4.5 million Afghans dependent upon
humanitarian assistance. A UN/Afghan Government appeal was launched
in July 2008 to avert a crisis but has faced a shortage of international
165. The UK has been swift in responding to the Afghan
food crisis (caused by drought and high global food prices), committing
£8 million to the food security component of the UN/Afghan
Government's July 2008 appeal. This funding is in addition to
the £5.5million committed to the agricultural recovery component
of the appeal, and the £3 million given to the World Food
Programme's January 2008 appeal. We have also provided £4
million in humanitarian assistance to the International Committee
of the Red Crossmaking our total contribution to alleviating
the current humanitarian situation £20.5 million. The UK
will continue to encourage the international community to commit
greater support to the UN/Afghan Government appeal in the coming
166. In 2001, only a million Afghan children were enrolled
in school. None were girls. A "Back to School" campaign
beginning in 2002 resulted in more than 4.3 million children enrolling
in grades 1-12, and a total of 6 million children are now enrolled
in school, 35% of whom are girls. The Ministry of Education has
developed a comprehensive National Strategic Action Plan for 2008-13,
which is included within the overall ANDS. The Asia Foundation's
2008 survey of the Afghan people found that 70% of respondents
believed the availability of children's education to be good,
and 44% thought that access to schools had improved over the last
167. The UK provides significant funding to the education
sector through the ARTF. Roughly one-third of our £240 million
contribution over the last six years has been used to support
education, mainly in the form of teachers' salaries. In Helmand,
Danish colleagues in the PRT lead the implementation of a programme
of immediate stabilisation in the education sector.
168. But challenges remain. About half the school-age
population is still out of school, with significant gender and
provincial disparities. In both rural and urban contexts, working
children may be their household's primary income earners, especially
in cases where a father is unemployed. Enrolment in urban areas
is considerably higher than in rural districts, and in many urban
areas there is almost a one-to-one ratio of girls and boys attending
primary school. However, in southern provinces, more than 60%
of the school age children are not in school. Overall only 10%
of women compared to 37% of men report being literate.
169. The UK will continue to support the Afghan Government's
development priorities. We expect that a significant portion of
that support will continue to be used for teachers' salaries,
and we will maintain a programme addressing teacher recruitment
and management issues to ensure this has greatest impact.
Public Financial Management systems
170. The recent (January 2008) Public Expenditure and
Financial Accountability assessment of Afghanistan shows significant
improvement within Afghan public financial management (PFM) systems
since the last assessment of December 2005. Afghanistan's ratings
are better than the average for other low income countries and
in some areas (like policy based budgeting) better than the average
for middle income countries. Out of total 28 performance indicators,
17 indicators improved and four indicators deteriorated, while
seven indicators remained unchanged. Among three donor practice
indicators, two indicators deteriorated and one indicator remained
171. Key PFM improvements include:
Legal Framework: Legal reforms have passed
with several key legislation (ie the public finance and expenditure
law2005, income tax law2005 and the procurement
law2005) which provide strong legal foundations for PFM;
Technical Expertise: PFM technical expertise
within the Ministry of Finance is good and improving in several
areas. However, a lot of the expertise is being supported through
donor salary support schemes resulting in concerns about long-term
Budget Credibility: Credibility (especially
on the operating budget) is improving due to relatively stable
flows from domestic revenues and donors. However, the gap between
budget and realization (ie the implementation gap) remains significant
in the development budget;
Budget Comprehensiveness: Budget comprehensiveness
has improved but reporting and fiscal transparency needs to be
strengthened. The Ministry of Finance needs to improve fiscal
oversight over relations between the two official tiers of Government;
Budget Process: Budgeting process is well
based on multi-year fiscal planning and detailed at the level
of ministries but there is still relatively little strategic prioritisation
of public resources by Cabinet early in the budgeting process;
Donors: Donors' practices for budget support
are almost best practice as the support is well communicated and
disbursements are in line with forecast.
172. However, these improvements must be viewed within
the context of poor scores in other areas (eg audit/accounting).
As a result the UK continues to work to further strengthen PFM
and improve accountability.
173. UK activity on public spending reform involves the
provision of direct support to the Afghan Government's budget
via the ARTF and the provision of technical assistance to the
Revenue and Budget departments in the Ministry of Finance. The
UK will also provide a £9.8 million programme over three
years (November 2007 to November 2010) in technical assistance
on public financial management/budgeting reform in key line ministries
such as finance, health and education. This project is helping
to improve the Government's ability to effectively spend resources
by improving the execution of the development budget. The UK will
also provide £11.5 million project over three years (2008-11),
designed to support effective domestic revenue mobilisation and
Afghan Government tax reforms.
174. The UK will continue to work closely with the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund country teams in assessing
the health of Afghanistan's PFM system. We will also work closely
with other bi-lateral partners to ensure effective co-ordination
between technical assistance/capacity building project in key
line ministries in Kabul and in the provinces.
175. The threat from drugs to Afghanistan ranks alongside
the threat from corruption and the threat to security from the
Taleban. There are no quick or simple ways of dealing with it.
Progress on tackling opium cultivation is decidedly mixed. The
many successes have been tempered by the overall increasenearly
doublingof cultivation and its increasing concentration
in five contiguous provinces in southern Afghanistan. Helmand
is, and is likely to remain, the main cultivating province.
176. We should be wary of grasping for "silver bullets"solutions
which risk diverting attention away from our main effort. Achievement
of a sustainable reduction in the production and trade requires
effort over a number of years. Experience in other countries has
shown this. In Thailand, huge public investment and market-led
growth almost eliminated the problem, but this took 25 years.
Significant reductions in Pakistan were also seen over 21 years.
In both countries, comprehensive long-term development was accompanied
by targeted law enforcement activity and development of government
institutions (including in law enforcement). Cultivation figures
actually rose before sustainable reductions were seen.
177. In 2001, the UNODC estimated that opium poppy cultivation
in Afghanistan stood at 8,000 hectares. However, 2001 was an abnormal
year, because the Taleban had enforced a ban on poppy cultivation
in 2000. Cultivation stood at 82,000 hectares in 2000 and climbed
again to 74,000 hectares in 2002.
178. While the ban on cultivation was in force the Taleban
did little to suggest that they were out to restrain the drugs
trade. For example they took little action to destroy heroin laboratories
or to inhibit the traffic in drugs. The ban was implemented for
many reasons. It is now believed that it was primarily an attempt
at a propaganda victory and an effort to attract international
development aid. At the same time it had the effect of pushing
up the price of opium from $100 per kg to $500 per kg. This significantly
benefited traffickers (and it is thought some members of the Taleban)
who held stockpiles of opium. The increased prices of opium increased
the incentives in following years to grow opium poppy. In parallel
the security situation worsened, which reduced access to licit
markets. The Taleban implemented the ban through a combination
of negotiation with influential tribes, promises of (unlikely)
development aid, bribery and intimidation.
179. Opium poppy production saw a dramatic increase in
2004 and with the exception of 2005, when it fell due to a depression
in price, has risen every year since, to 2007.
180. In 2008 there was a 19% reduction in cultivation
to 157,000 hectares, with an increase in the number of poppy-free
provinces from six in 2006 to 18 in 2008over half of the
country's 34 provinces. This includes some of the larger producing
provinces with long histories of poppy cultivation. Badakshan's
cultivation dropped by 98% between 2004 and 2008. Nangarhar, which
in 2004 accounted for 22% of Afghanistan's poppy crop moved to
poppy-free status in 2008. Balkhanother province with a
high dependence on poppy cultivation in recent yearsis
also now reported to be poppy-free.
181. A key factor which helped reduce poppy cultivation
in 2008 has been a nascent but growing recognition by the Afghan
authorities of the value of a concerted approach to counter-narcotics,
linking information campaigns, alternative livelihoods and enforcement
activities. Rising wheat prices combined with a significant drop
in the price of raw opium has been important in influencing poppy
farmers to switch from opium to wheat cultivation. This is a situation
which we are keen to exploit.
182. Helmand is the chief opium poppy-growing area of
Afghanistan. Typically Helmand has produced between 30% and 50%
of Afghan opium since the 1990s (with the exception of 2001, when
there was no cultivation). It is likely to remain the main cultivating
province for the foreseeable future. In opposition to the national
picture, poppy cultivation in Helmand rose in 2008 to 103,590
hectares66% of all such cultivation in Afghanistan.
183. A significant forward step in 2008 was the launch of
Governor Mangal's counter-narcotics plan for Helmand (the Helmand
Plan), under which 32,000 households in Helmandin five
food zones across the provincehave benefited from the distribution
of free wheat seed. This distribution has been supported by an
information campaign which has sought to persuade Helmandis of
their responsibility not to grow poppy and instead to feed their
families and community at a time of growing food insecurity.
184. Governor Mangal has held a series of Shuras (local
discussions/community meetings), with supporting TV/radio and
print media messages, to promote the distribution of wheat seed,
warning Helmandis of the dangers of poppy cultivation, that it
is un-Islamic and informing them of the risk of eradication if
they do cultivate poppy. There have been reports of some villages
being willing to challenge Taleban intimidation not to accept
the wheat seedan indication of the success of the information
campaign. Conversely, there have been reports of the Taleban intimidating
recipients of wheat seed in an effort to encourage them to revert
to poppy. Early signs are that the Helmand Plan is making good
headway (wheat seed distribution has been completed), albeit within
a challenging security environment. Exactly how successful the
wheat distribution strategy has been will be seen in early 2009.
Areas within the food zones where opium poppy is still being grown
will be targeted for eradication by both the Governor and the
Afghan Poppy Eradication Force.
185. Achieving a sustainable reduction in poppy cultivation
in Helmand will remain a challenge until farmers have a predictable
security environment, as well as access to markets, irrigation,
agricultural support and alternative long-term employment. External
factors in decision-making include the relative prices of opium
and of licit crops. The concentration of narcotics cultivation
and production in Helmand and other southern provinces in Afghanistan
demonstrates the need for greater action in tackling insecurity
and weak governanceconditions which allow the trade to
186. For the province-by-province approach to tackling
narcotics production in Afghanistan to work, we are encouraging
other provinces/Governors to look to the Helmand Plan as an example
for what can be achieved. The Helmand Plan includes some economic
measures to help farmers transition away from poppy cultivation
by integrating support for crops and access to markets. It also
ensures the process is Governor-led and co-ordinated with other
international donors. But it will be important that we go on to
develop a more sophisticated approach in Helmand and other provinces,
since an over-emphasis on wheat (one that encourages mono-cropping)
as the appropriate crop substitution would threaten the sustainability
of the emerging market in wheat and create an over-dependency
on buoyant wheat prices. Diversity will be key. Development of
plans for other provinces modelled on the Helmand Plan will need
to be done in such a way as to ensure that the agricultural alternatives
from poppy are sustainable.
Drugs and the Insurgency
187. The links between the Taleban and the drugs trade
have been a long-standing arrangement of mutual convenience. The
Taleban took income from the drugs trade and the drugs trade thrived
in a relatively protected environment. These links were formed
through tribal loyalties, business connections and personal relationships.
188. There is now increasing evidence of a consolidating link
between the drugs trade and the insurgency in the south and, to
a degree, in the east of Afghanistan. The narco-barons and the
insurgents share a common interest in resisting the authority
of the Afghan Government and of international forces. The UN estimated
that in 2008 the insurgents (along with corrupt elements) exacted
$100 million of taxes from the drugs smugglers, which was, in
effect, protection money. There is growing evidence of weapons
caches and heroin laboratories being co-located and the same routes
and vehicles are often used to transport drugs and weapons. In
an ISAF-supported operation in the Nawa area in southern Helmand
in December 2008, 400kg of opium were seized along with a sizeable
haul of weapons including rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds,
small arms and components for improvised explosive devices.
189. The UK has been at the forefront of efforts within
NATO in pressing for ISAF to target more effectively the nexus
between illicit narcotics and the insurgency. We welcomed the
decision by NATO Defence Ministers at Budapest in October 2008
to direct ISAF to take action, in concert with Afghan security
forces, on counter-narcotics, subject to agreement by governments
of the forces concerned. The decision enables the UK to support
the Afghan security forces in targeting those elements of the
insurgency where there is a clear link to the illegal drugs trade.
It is now important to ensure that ISAF has a positive effect
in supporting Afghan work to tackle the narcotics-insurgency nexus.
190. UK action will focus efforts on targeting risk against
narco-barons at the top end of the trade, both to dismantle the
power base of corrupt officials and to reduce funding streams
available to the Taleban. UK forces in ISAF will continue to target
elements of the insurgency where there is a clear link to the
illegal drugs trade, in support of Afghan-led operations and within
the legal parameters as set out in the NATO Operational Plan.
There will be a challenge to move NATO partnerssome of
whom are reluctant to commit their troops on any counter-narcotics
operationscloser to our own position, so that more ISAF
forces can be deployed on such operations. Over the longer term,
the need to build up Afghan-led interdiction and disruption operations
remain important, together with the (US-led) expansion and training
of the ANA.
191. The UK is G8 Partner Nation for Afghanistan on counter-narcotics.
We are in effect therefore responsible for leading the international
effort to engage in tackling illicit narcotics in Afghanistan,
in particular in lobbying for support. To this end we have regular
dialogue with key members of the international community, especially
192. The UK and the international community at large supports
the Afghan Government's National Drug Control Strategy (ANDCS)which
we helped establish in May 2003. Our own immediate goal is to
achieve a drugs trade divided from the insurgency and prevented
from undermining security, governance and the economy to the point
where the Afghan Government can take responsibility for its own
counter-narcotics effort. Our purpose is to ensure that arrangements
are in place to provide economic incentives for farmers to move
away from poppy while ensuring that the Afghan Government has
the capability to create a credible risk to the drugs trade. The
emphasis is on maintaining an Afghan lead. UK activity is therefore
targeting the top end of the drugs trade (influential
narco-barons), especially those supporting the insurgency;
maximising Governor outreach and access to markets
for farmers in Helmand; and
building effective institutional and international
development arrangements to sustain and expand poppy-free provinces.
193. From 2004 to 2008 the UK has spent nearly £160
million on our counter-narcotics programme in Afghanistan. This
directly supports the implementation of the NDCS.
194. The UK has also supported the institutional infrastructure
which supports that strategy. The Ministry of Counter-Narcotics
was established in December 2004 and supported by a UK £12.5
million capacity building programme. The ANP was established in
April 2002, the Counter-Narcotics Police (CNPA) in early 2003,
the Afghan Special Narcotics Force (ASNF) at the end of 2003,
the Poppy Eradication Force at end 2004/beginning 2005, the Criminal
Justice Task Force (CJTF) and the Counter-Narcotics Tribunal (CNT)
in May 2005, and the Afghan Government's Anti-Corruption Commission
in September 2008. The CNPA, the CJTF and the CNT have all received
UK support. The ASNF is UK mentored and latterly has been scoring
significant successes against the narco-baronsfor instance
seizing 238 tonnes of cannabis in June 2008.
195. A particular challenge will be to mainstream counter-narcotics
into broader Afghan Government business at national and local
levels. To this end, the UK is looking to widen our capacity-building
programme beyond the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics to other government
ministries to address capacity across the Afghan Government. We
shall also be seeking to help develop ministerial budgets to a
level of robustness which will allow counter-narcotics budget
streams to sit within them (rather than as now as aid assistance
outside official budgets), and urging the case for responsibility
for local management of counter-narcotics policies to be cascade
to the local government level. For these policies to succeed,
more work will need to be done on extending the authority of the
Poppy Eradication Policy
196. Poppy eradication policy and implementation is the
responsibility of the Afghan Government, as set out in the NDCS.
This makes clear that the policy on eradication is that it should
be ground-based and targeted towards farmers who have access to
alternative licit livelihoods. The UK does not eradicate, but
we do provide support for the planning and targeting work of the
provincial Governors and Afghan Poppy Eradication Force. The UK,
with the US, funds a cost-recovery scheme which reimburses Governors
$135 for every hectare of eradication they undertake. We also
engage with the UNODC at a technical level on the monitoring of
eradication and overall cultivation of poppy. But it is important
to recognise that while eradication is a significant deterrent
and can play a catalytic role in influencing farmers to give up
opium poppy cultivation it could not solve this problem on its
own. Eradication needs to be balanced with measures to interdict
drugs, build institutions, bring criminals to justice, and encourage
development of rural communities to provide alternatives for poppy
197. In 2007 DFID co-sponsored with the World Bank a report
which outlined measures necessary to reduce poppy cultivation:
"Afghanistan Economic Incentives and Development Initiatives
to Reduce Opium Production". These included large-scale
irrigation and infrastructure programmes, provision of higher-value
horticulture and livestock opportunities, the scaling-up of micro-finance,
and support for the development of small and medium enterprises.
These incentives, combined with agricultural inputs to tackle
food insecurity, need to be rolled out across poppy-free provinces
with development ministries and Governors from 2008-09 in order
to sustain progress.
198. The UK has already promoted community outreach and
infrastructure development to help support farmers and improve
market linkages: over 21,900 Community Development Councils have
been established, disbursing over £248 million in grants;
over 9,790 km of roads have been rehabilitated; and over £227
million in micro-finance loans has been disbursed to 443,740 Afghans.
We are now taking forward the recommendations of the DFID/World
Bank report by working with the Afghan Government on a new programmethe
Sustainable Reduction in Poppy Programmeto support growth
in the legal economy. Though supported by the UK this will be
under Afghan leadership. With financial support from donors, the
programme aims to provide rapid delivery of development assistance
to the legal economy and communitiesparticularly the agricultural
economy. It will be formulated on a district-based approach, focusing
on those districts with significant economic potential, to cement
the switch away from opium in the long term. The UK expects to
spend £35 million in promoting licit livelihoods in 2008.
199. A powerful incentive for Governors to move their
provinces towards poppy reduction and ultimately poppy-free status
has been the Good Performers Initiative (GPI). This was established
by the Afghan Government in 2007, funded by the UK and US, to
empower provincial leaders to address local needs and reward action
on opium production in a timely fashion. It is a quick-results
initiative operating at local community level, offering high-impact
development assistance directly to villages and communities leading
the fight against poppy cultivation. Initially, the GPI only rewarded
poppy-free provinces, but it has now been expanded to offer rewards
to provinces which make significant progress in decreasing cultivation
levels. Under it, the Afghan Government plans to award over $39
million for GPI projects in 2008, with award money reaching 29
of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. UK funding for the GPI has amounted
to an estimated £6.8 million since 2007.
The Future Challenges
200. The growing number of poppy-free provinces and the
emergence of stronger Afghan counter-narcotics institutions demonstrate
the value of a multi-pronged approach to counter-narcotics. But
this success is fragile, and sustaining it represents the chief
challenge. Insufficient high-level political commitment in Afghanistan
to counter-narcotics continues to present a problem, as does weak
capacity in central government and in the provinces. Success could
also be undermined by external shocks such as a worsening drought
leading to food insecurity; a deteriorating security situation
impeding progress on the ground; unrealistic expectations by Afghans
or international actors about how quickly development can occur
in a post-conflict environment; and any further deepening of the
relationship between the drugs trade and the insurgency. Engagement
on Afghan counter-narcotics is a long-term endeavour, which will
require a regional approach, particularly with Pakistan.
201. The productive engagement of Afghanistan's neighbours,
all of whom have an interest in a secure Afghanistan, will be
crucial to ensuring the country's long-term stability. In 2001
the main mechanism for bringing a regional perspective to policy
on Afghanistan was the 6+2 mechanism (Afghanistan's six neighboursPakistan,
Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chinaand
the US and Russia), which excluded Afghanistan, as it was then
still ruled by the Taleban. International refusal to engage with
the Taleban regime (aside from the governments of Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) limited the capacity of regional
organisations to engage on Afghanistan.
202. Since 2001 there has been a proliferation of mechanisms
aimed at harnessing regional determination to help tackle Afghanistan's
problems, which clearly impact also on its neighbours and the
broader region. In addition to fora specifically created to focus
on Afghanistan (which include the Good Neighbourly Relations Declaration
(GNRD), with a focus on counter-narcotics and the Regional Economic
Cooperation Conference (RECC) focussed on regional economic integration),
there are also existing fora which have accepted Afghanistan as
a member and are useful in providing political support and international
solidarity to Afghanistan. These include the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
(SCO), to which Afghanistan
is an observer state.
203. The UK has played an active role in advocating a regional
approach to Afghanistan's challenges, and the Prime Minister underlined
this point in his 12 December 2007 statement to Parliament. We
believe that Afghanistan's main challenges, including extremism,
terrorism, economic development and narcotics, are challenges
that can only be tackled effectively on a regional basis. The
UK was instrumental in setting up the RECC, with the first meeting
in Kabul in 2005 co-chaired by the UK and Afghanistan. However,
it is key that progress is driven by Afghanistan and its regional
partners, to ensure long-term ownership and sustainability.
204. Afghanistan continues to build good relations with
its regional partners. They, in turn, co-operate actively with
Afghanistan in a range of areas (with Chinese investment, Iranian
development assistance, Indian capacity building and road building,
Central Asian co-operation on energy infrastructure projects and
Pakistani partnership on security challenges, all being examples
of existing co-operation). However, there is a lot of scope to
do more, in particular on operationalising decisions and broadening
the scope of bilateral co-operation between Afghanistan and each
neighbour so that they become truly regional approaches.
205. The UK continues to work hard to encourage Afghanistan
and its regional partners to prioritise joint work. We encourage
them to build on the good dynamics they have established with
agreement to concrete deliverables. A structured approach to regional
issues that brings in key decision makers from government and
uses their authority to deliver real progress driven by the region
itself is key. This was the focus of a meeting chaired by France
with Afghanistan, its neighbours and other key partners on 14
December 2008. We welcome the offer from the European Commission
to chair an expert level group to feed into the forthcoming RECC
meeting in spring 2009. This is an important step forward in operationalising
good relations so that they deliver concrete progress.
206. The international community can provide resources
and expertise to Afghanistan and its regional partners as they
work on shared challenges. Many are already engaged on the regional
dimension; G8 partners like Canada, the US and Germany are supporting
work on Af-Pak issues, the World Bank is playing a key role in
getting energy infrastructure projects delivered, bringing in
Afghanistan, Central Asian states, Pakistan and India and with
non-governmental bodies like the Aga Khan Foundation are playing
an important role in building relations between communities in
Afghanistan and those across the border in neighbouring countries.
207. Pakistan was the only country which still recognised
the Taleban as the legal government of Afghanistan when allied
operations began in October 2001, Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates having cut ties within weeks of the September 11th
attacks. Pakistan provided aid to the Taleban government, and
its military and intelligence services provided materiel and logistical
support to their Taleban counterparts. Pakistan recognised the
transitional government led by Hamid Karzai in December 2001 and
the two have maintained diplomatic relations since. Pakistan is
Afghanistan's largest (and a growing) trading partner. Relations
between the two countries have peaked and troughed in the intervening
208. Both sides' public statements have reflected strained
relations during times of crisis. Pakistan and Afghanistan both
acknowledge that they share a common enemy of terrorism, and that
cooperation will help them counter this more effectively. Pakistan
has undertaken military operations in its northwest to deny terrorists
safe havens. Pakistani and Afghan politicians and officials now
undertake regular discussions bilaterally and as part of wider
regional mechanisms, on subjects ranging from counter-terrorism
to counter-narcotics and economic growth. In late 2008, both countries'
Presidents publicly declared their desire to work together and
to defeat terrorism jointly. This was the most emphatic statement
of co-operation since before the fall of the Taleban.
209. The UK, through its regular bilateral and multilateral
discussions, has encouraged both the Afghan and Pakistani Governments
to strengthen their bilateral dialogue. We have given financial
and logistical support to the Afghan Government to achieve this,
and have advised and supported both countries on how to tackle
religious extremism, which fuels terrorism in both countries.
However, the bilateral relationship, without further broadening,
remains susceptible to internal and external shocks. Domestic
or regional political pressures may also distract both countries'
leaders from pursuing improved bilateral relations. Deteriorating
security in either Afghanistan or Pakistan could pose a threat
to the other's stability. The Pakistani government and military
continue to need reassurance that the international community
will remain engaged on Afghanistan in the long term. Increasing
civilian control over the Pakistani armed forces remains another
210. Politically, broadening the Afghan-Pakistani bilateral
relationship beyond high-level informal talks is the main task.
Addressing both countries' wider concerns with a co-ordinated
approach to shared challenges will make the relationship better
able to withstand short-term shocks. Counter-radicalisation, counter-insurgency
and strategic communications policies need to be co-ordinated
as far as possible, taking into account the views of cross-border
ethnic groups. A co-ordinated approach to security should go hand-in-hand
with cooperation on development initiatives, including cross-border
trade. Increased technical cooperation between the two countries'
armed forces, police and border management services is also vital.
211. Iran had extremely poor relations with the Taleban,
exacerbated by the execution of eight Iranian diplomats and one
Iranian state news agency correspondent in 1998. Since 2001 Iran
has improved its relations with the Government of Afghanistan,
consistently and publicly backing President Karzai. Bilateral
trade has increased and Iran's development and humanitarian activity
in western Afghanistan has also grown. We believe Iran spent $390
million in Afghanistan in 2007. However, there is a significant
Afghan refugee problem in Iran. Conditions for Afghan refugees,
especially for the majority who are unregistered, have significantly
worsened following recent changes to Iranian law. This, in addition
to the increased number of returnees, has caused some tension
between Iran and Afghanistan.
212. Creating a structured dialogue with Iran, over a range
of issues, is one way we have to influence internal Iranian debate
on their involvement in Afghanistan. Though Iran has often been
a constructive partner of Afghanistan, their links to the Taleban
either through supply of munitions, training or funding remain
a concern. The UK has consistently argued that this is completely
unacceptable and undercuts the Iranian policy of support for the
Government of President Karzai. We have registered our concerns
with a number of senior Iranian Ministers and officials, and continue
to monitor the situation.
213. The UK has sought to develop a regular dialogue
on Afghanistan with Iran emphasising the importance of our shared
objectives, and challenging unacceptable behaviour. The UK hopes
that Iran will agree to further discussion, focussed in particular
on the impact of narcotics, which are a serious problem in Iran.
Engagement with Iran on the need for it to prioritise the positive
aspects of its engagement in Afghanistan will be most effective
if it is part of a concerted international effort.
214. China's relations with Afghanistan were very limited
in 2001. Having established diplomatic relations in 1955, China
withdrew its representation in 1993 with the intensification of
the civil war, only re-establishing contacts in December 2001.
215. From 2001, China and Afghanistan started to deepen their
relationship, with Chinese investment substantially increasing
following the Afghan Government's opening of its energy, mineral
and raw materials sectors to foreign investors. China has become
one of Afghanistan's largest trading partners, with a bilateral
trade volume of $700 million in the year to October 2008. However,
this was almost exclusively one-way (primarily export of construction
materials from China to Afghanistan). We believe that China has
provided around $300 million official development assistance to
Afghanistan over the last seven years.
216. The Chinese are investing heavily in mining ($3.5
billion in Aynac copper mine in May 2008) and associated infrastructure,
including roads (mostly around Jalalabad) and rail links between
Tajikistan and Pakistan. They fund 35 post-graduate scholarships
annually, and have trained 350 civil servants in China on short
courses in 2008. We believe that China has dispersed $62.3 million
in aid, during the period January 2002 to March 2008 and has just
signed an agreement for a further $11 million in December 2008.
The UK has encouraged China to increase the breadth of its contribution
in Afghanistan. We will pursue further dialogue on Afghanistan
(and regional security, including Pakistan) in 2009.
217. The key challenges are to ensure China's large programme
of investment in Afghanistan will provide stable long-term economic
growth for the Afghan people and to encourage China to become
more involved in the international development effort in Afghanistan.
There are legitimate concerns about Chinese investments, given
the fiscal clout of Chinese companies, many state-owned, which
distorts the market, as well as their lack of corporate governance
and responsibility. But the investments will also generate employment,
infrastructure, and enhanced revenues for the State, which in
turn should help the State maintain control over the country.
218. China also has a deep (although not broad) relationship
with Pakistan and has three priorities in that country: economic
recovery, stability and support for combating terrorism. On the
latter, China is increasingly worried about domestic terrorism
(in Xinjiang in particular) with links to Pakistan.
219. The UK will seek to work with China to ensure that
its engagement with Afghanistan is co-ordinated with the broader
international community's assistance and that China's positive
role in Afghanistan's economic development is recognised and used
to optimal effect. We recognise that China has a strong preference
to pursue its interests in Afghanistan through its bilateral relationship
with the Afghan Government and is only likely to become more involved
in international efforts if asked to do this by Afghanistan. Any
discussions on working with China will therefore need the full
support and involvement of Afghan partners.
220. The UK will also share with China our analysis of
the main challenges in Afghanistan (terrorism, narcotics and reconstruction)
and how these impact on the entire global communityincluding
China. China has the potential to be a key actor in the international
effort in Afghanistan. We hope that other countries active in
Afghanistan will also engage with China to encourage its deeper
involvement in Afghanistan's development and economic future.
221. Saudi Arabia was one of the few countries that recognised
the Taleban. But following September 11th it severed ties with
the Taleban regime. Since the fall of the Taleban, the Saudi Government
has contributed around $200 million in humanitarian assistance
to the democratically elected Government of Afghanistan. Recently
they have facilitated attempts to initiate dialogue between the
Taleban and the Government of Afghanistan.
222. The UK has actively lobbied the Saudi Government to secure
more funding and has been supportive of Saudi reconciliation efforts.
But we hope that more development assistance can be provided.
Saudi Arabia has only pledged around $200 million in aid for Afghanistan
223. India cut off relations with Afghanistan during
the Taleban era, and supported anti-Taleban groups during their
overthrow. India has now become the largest regional donor to
Afghanistan. India has pledged or disbursed around $1 billion
of direct aid since 2001, with its aid concentrated on road construction
and capacity building for Afghan civil servants. It has maintained
this assistance despite the killing of Indian construction workers
and the bombing of its Embassy in Kabul in July 2008. Trade between
Afghanistan and India has also risen significantly. However, India's
engagement with Afghanistan causes friction between India and
Pakistan. Improving the India-Pakistan relationship is an essential
part of getting full regional buy-in to supporting Afghanistan.
224. The UK's lobbying of regional players since 2001 has
included substantial contact with Indian ministers and senior
officials. Regular consultation with both India and Pakistan on
regional issues will remain a key part of our policy on Afghanistan.
We will continue to emphasise the need for continued responsible
engagement by India. This message will be better received if it
is delivered in concert with other major global players in Afghanistan,
such as the US and EU. We will continue to co-ordinate closely
on regional issues with these partners.
225. Russia's relations with the Taleban regime were
poor, due to its support for jihadists who fought alongside Chechen
rebels. Distrust of the Taleban continues to influence heavily
the Russian approach to Afghanistan's development.
226. Given the Soviet Union's bitter experiences in Afghanistan
during the 1980s, the Russians are wary of involving themselves
too closely in the current international effort. However, Russia
also recognises that a stable Afghanistan is important to ensuring
the stability of Central Asia and its south-eastern flank, and
in addressing the considerable flow of narcotics north.
227. Russia has expressed an interest in making a limited
contribution to security sector reform, signing a defence co-operation
agreement with the Government of Afghanistan in March 2008, and
training some Afghans in counter-narcotics techniques at its Domodedovo
centre near Moscow. The Government of Afghanistan has not yet
taken up more recent Russian offers of bilateral assistance, including
further police training at Domodedovo. Russia has also put Afghanistan
high up the agenda during their current chairmanship of the SCO,
but it remains unclear what sort of role the SCO hopes to play.
228. The UK and Russia share the same objective, broadly
speaking, of a secure and viable Afghanistan. The UK regularly
discusses Afghanistan with Russia. We will continue to work with
Russia in a range of fora, most notably the NATO-Russia Council
and the UN in New York, to explore how we can ensure that this
shared perspective can best be leveraged to provide further support
to the Afghan Government. We will continue to try to expand on
existing Russian co-operation and to ensure that periodic tensions
on broader foreign policy issues do not inhibit co-operation on
Afghanistan's development. Co-ordinated and sustained engagement
by the international community with Russia will be the most effective
way to maintain a constructive approach to Afghanistan.
Central Asian Republics
229. The Central Asian republics bordering Afghanistan
(Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) were very suspicious
of the Taleban regime. Uzbekistan was the most vocal of the three,
though all were concerned about the spread of militant Islam and
narcotics across their southern borders.
230. Initial Uzbek support for OEF soured following US protest
at the Andijan massacre in 2005. President Karimov then expelled
US forces based at the Karshi-Kanabad airbase. However, Uzbekistan
has recently sought to play a role in the development of Afghanistan.
Despite this renewed interest, the Uzbeks are yet to recognise
the central role the Afghan Government must play in any lasting
solution. They are currently proposing a regional forum on Afghanistan
which does not include Afghanistan. The UK has welcomed renewed
Uzbek interest in Afghanistan, encouraging them to work more closely
with the Afghan Government and the rest of the international community.
231. Both Tajikistan and Turkmenistan maintain logistical
support for ISAF operations, and are seeking to improve their
border security and counter-narcotics programmes. The US has operated
an air base in Kyrgyzstan since 2001 supporting the ISAF operation.
The UK continues to encourage Tajik and Turkmen security and development
programmes which assist Afghanistan.
232. We will continue our dialogue and encourage further
engagement by the Central Asian republics through existing international
fora, emphasising the importance of a regional approach to economic,
development and security issues. The main challenge will be to
ensure that they deliver their assistance in a way that works
long-term to support Afghanistan's development, focussing on water
management, energy, trade, transit and counter-narcotics issues.
A more developed regional approach will need support from the
wider international community in order to be fully effective.
233. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks,
the US has been at the forefront of the international community's
efforts in Afghanistan. The UK has resolutely supported the US
response in Afghanistan, including our strong participation in
OEF and ISAF. In his address to Congress on 20 September 2001,
President Bush recognised UK support, saying "America has
no truer friend than Great Britain" and we have maintained
this close relationship both bilaterally and in Afghanistan ever
234. The US is the largest single contributor of troops to
both ISAF and OEF, with around 20,000 troops currently deployed.
It is also the largest contributor of bilateral aid, committing
in excess of $20 billion in reconstruction aid and pledging more
than $10 billion over the next two years. The US is the G8 lead
nation on the training of the ANA and this is managed by the CSTC-A.
US General David D McKiernan is also the current commander of
ISAF, and in September 2008 the US streamlined their command structures
by appointing General McKiernan as Commander of US Forces Afghanistan,
giving him oversight of both the US ISAF contingent and the majority
of their other forces in Afghanistan, including CSTC-A. As a result,
General McKiernan reports both to NATO and to the US Central Command
(CENTCOM), which is commanded by General David Petreaus.
235. President-elect Obama has already reaffirmed America's
commitment to Afghanistan, and has pledged to increase military
and non-military US resources devoted to Afghanistan.
236. The UN presence in Afghanistan during the Taleban
era was essential in providing basic humanitarian services, such
as food aid and drinking water, to up to 50% of the population.
UN staff were forced to leave Kabul (for the second time) in December
2000, leaving UN operations drastically reduced, and run by Afghan
staff who faced hostility and obstruction from Taleban officials.
237. The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan
(UNAMA) was established through UNSCR 1401 on 28 March 2002 in
support of the Bonn agreement and the interim Afghan Government.
UNAMA was also mandated to manage all humanitarian, relief and
reconstruction activities. UNAMA's staff and resources were increased
accordingly as the mission expanded. In 2005, the Security Council
bestowed additional roles on UNAMAto provide political
and strategic advice in support of the peace process, and to promote
international engagement with Afghanistan. In 2008, UNAMA's mission
was redefined. In addition to the core activities outlined above,
the Mission's mandate was further focussed on co-ordination, political
outreach, support for sub-national governance (including human
rights), humanitarian aid, elections and co-operation with ISAF.
238. UNAMA has increased the size of its mission in Kabul,
and now has regional offices operating in seven provincial citiesBamiyan,
Gardez, Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz.
UN specialist agencies, including the World Food Programme, the
UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the office of the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees and the World Health Organisation now have permanent
operations across the country. UN operations have greatly increased
the amount of humanitarian assistance reaching ordinary Afghans
239. The UK has been a strong supporter of UNAMA. We
have made this clear in the UN Security Council, both publicly
and with behind the scenes lobbying of other Security Council
members. We have also made our support for a UN co-ordinating
role clear at major international conferences on Afghanistan.
We provide a significant proportion of UN funding through our
assessed contributions, and have pushed key partners in the UN
system to provide additional resources to UNAMA as quickly as
240. As part of the wider drive to have an integrated
and civilian-led international approach to assisting the Government
of Afghanistan, supporting the UN's role in international co-ordination
remains a priority. Parts of the UN system remain to be convinced
that Afghanistan should be a priority issue for the UN. As a result,
the UN's operations on the ground in Afghanistan need continued
support from the international community, and depend on the Afghan
Government and ISAF providing sufficient security conditions.
Expanding the UN's operations to cover more provinces will enable
more comprehensive and effective support to the Afghan people
241. We remain strongly supportive of the UN's central
role in Afghanistan and continue to work closely with UNAMA in
Kabul and the provinces of Afghanistan, and are looking to provide
practical support, where possible, including on staffing. We are
working to step up this cooperation as the UN expands its effort
in the region, including to Helmand.
242. The EU has contributed substantially to the reconstruction
and development of Afghanistan, disbursing $5.2 billion between
2002 and mid-2008 (between member states and the Commission).
An additional $2.3 billion has been pledged for the period 2008-11.
16 EU embassies have opened in Kabul and 25 EU nations are contributors
to ISAF, with 10 PRTs led by EU nations. The EU has also established
a major police reform mission, EUPOL, which is making a substantial
contribution to improvements in the rule of law. The EU sent an
election observation mission to Afghanistan for the elections
in 2004. Its thorough and rigorous observation of the process,
and subsequent declaration on the conduct of the elections contributed
to Afghan and international recognition that the process was free
243. The UK contributes financially to all of the above EU
initiatives through its assessed contributions and some discretionary
payments, such as paying the salary of 15 UK personnel in EUPOL.
The UK is the largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan among EU
nations and has been one of the major advocates of increased EU
contributions to Afghanistan, both in terms of military burden
sharing and development support. Much of our consultation with
European partners over the last seven years has focused on encouraging
them to contribute more to security, reconstruction and development.
The UK has also played a key role in harmonising international
policy on Afghanistan, using its unique position to bring together
US, European and other approaches.
244. The EU must continue to improve its internal co-ordination
(particularly between the EU Special Representative, EUPOL and
the European Commission) and its interaction with other international
actors. One of the ways in which the UK believes that internal
co-ordination can be improved is through the "double-hatting"
of the roles of EU Special Representative and Head of European
Commission delegation in Afghanistan. The EU can improve its influence
and standing within Afghanistan by harmonising its political messaging
and using its substantial financial and logistical support to
leverage policy progress from the Afghan Government in return
for its assistance. It can also support national capacity-building
better by channelling more of its funds through national budgets.
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
245. The OSCE also contributed election assessment missions
during Afghan elections in 2004 and 2005, jointly realised by
its own Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
and OCSE Secretariat. However, Afghanistan is a "Partner
for Co-operation" rather than a full member and thus it was
not assessed against full OSCE election standards. Instead, the
ODIHR compiled confidential technical recommendations which it
submitted to the Afghan authorities. Since 2005 the ODIHR has
maintained a relationship with the Government of Afghanistan.
246. The OSCE first considered broader engagement on Afghanistan
at the Ministerial meeting in December 2007. The Secretary-General,
Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, briefed the OSCE Security Committee
with preliminary ideas on 31 March 2008, with a set of 16 proposed
projects issued in a June 2008 report. The proposed projects focus
on the northern border of Afghanistan, with the aim of providing
counter-narcotics training for Afghan police and security forces,
in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Two of the projects
are located in Afghanistan which has caused significant debate
among OSCE participating states. Owing to these continuing disagreements
the OSCE has not yet reached a decision on border security projects.
247. The UK has been supportive of OSCE efforts in the
region, while advocating the need for OSCE projects to be co-ordinated
with pre-existing international police and border security assistance
programmes, stressing that it is for the Afghan Government to
decide what training they want. We believe that for training to
be most effective, it should be delivered in country, as the Afghan
Government has requested. Support for the Afghan elections should
be a clear priority for the OSCE in 2009. The OSCE has the expertise
and experience to assist in the effective delivery of legitimate
elections, building on its contribution in 2004 and 2005.
248. The UK will continue to support an OSCE focus on
Afghanistan, particularly election assistance for 2009, but also
efforts by OSCE members to identify other ways the OSCE can add
value in co-ordination with the broader international community.
Given the number of international partners active in Afghanistan,
it will be important that OSCE work is carefully co-ordinated
with the wider international community.
249. When the UN first authorised the deployment of an
international force, following the Bonn Conference in December
2001, there were 19 troop contributing nations, led by the UK.
By August 2003, when NATO took over ISAF, there were 30 countries
contributing 5,000 troops. By the end of 2006, when ISAF completed
expansion throughout Afghanistan, there were 36,000 troops from
37 countries. There are now (as at December 2008) 41 countries
contributing around 52,000 troops. 37,000 of those troops are
located in the less stable Regional Commands South and East. The
UK is the second largest troop contributing nation, with around
250. In laying out the UK's long-term comprehensive framework
for Afghanistan in his Statement to Parliament on 12 December
2007, the Prime Minister noted the need for greater burden sharing
by all partners and allies, shifting our emphasis from short term
stabilisation to long term development. To that end, UK diplomatic
effort has been deployed in encouraging others to increase their
share of the military, civilian and financial burden in Afghanistan.
251. Recent announcements from allies have included the
commitment by the US, by far the biggest contributor, to deploy
an additional Battalion and Brigade Combat Team. Germany has recently
renewed its mandate and increased the ceiling of its commitments
to 4,500 troops. In December 2008 Japan extended the mandate for
their refuelling tanker serving OEF. The French provided an extra
battalion of forces following the 2008 NATO Summit. The Canadians
are to enhance the air support capability in Kandahar. And the
Estonians have extended their mission to Afghanistan, increasing
their commitment from 150 to 170 troops. However, the Dutch and
Canadians have recently announced the extension of their current
mandates only until 2010 and 2011 respectively, after which they
intend to play different, likely non-combat, roles in Afghanistan.
252. NATO, through the Combined Joint Statement of Requirements
identifies the troops and material required to conduct the mission.
This was updated prior to a Global Force Generation Conference
on 4-5 November 2008. Amongst others, there are currently shortfalls
in the required numbers of OMLT training teams for the ANA and
helicopters. The UK provides seven of the 73 OMLTs required by
the Statement of Requirements and has lobbied allies to provide
additional OMLTs to meet the current shortfall (approximately
20). There are now 23 countries that either contribute to or have
pledged to contribute to OMLTs. However, as the ANA expands, there
will be an increasing requirement for more.
253. In 2008, the UK and France launched an initiative
that allows countries who have the financial ability to support
others (mostly Eastern European countries) who have the helicopter
airframes to deploy to Afghanistan and elsewhere. To date, approximately
20 million have been pledged by nine countries (Iceland,
Luxembourg, France, Finland, Lithuania, Norway, Denmark, Australia
and UK). A number of other countries have offered in-kind donations,
including Ukraine, the US, France, Estonia, Italy and Spain. The
Czech Republic has donated 12 helicopter airframes to the ANA
Air Corps. Six of these are now in Afghanistan and a further six
have been refurbished and are awaiting transportation. Hungary,
Bulgaria and Ukraine have all formally indicated a desire to make
use of the initiative to increase the deployability of their helicopters.
254. Several countries place caveats on their forces.
Caveats take the form of restrictions or limitations on what individual
nations' military forces are permitted to do, ie only conduct
operations in certain regions of Afghanistan or only conduct certain
types of operation. These often reflect political sensitivities
or practical limitations. However, they also limit Commander ISAF's
flexibility to deliver the mission. There are no caveats on UK
Forces and the UK continues to lobby other countries on their
use of caveats.
International community communications
255. In 2001 the international community was united in
its public condemnation both of the September 11th terrorist attacks
and of the role that the Taleban regime had played in harbouring
those who had planned and executed those attacks. The message
was clear: it was in the interests of international security to
remove the Taleban regime. The Bonn Conference at the end of 2001
allowed the international community to coalesce around and support
a clear Afghan articulation of the situation and plan for the
256. As the coalition grew and the NATO mandate expanded beyond
Kabul, the shape of the mission also evolved. The more stable
security situation in the north and west enabled reconstruction
and development to take place more rapidly. This meant that whilst
some nations were telling their home audiences that their role
in Afghanistan was primarily about rebuilding, other domestic
audiences were focused on military action against the insurgency.
257. Communications was not seen as a priority by NATO/ISAF
or many of its member states until 2006-07. NATO in Brussels and
ISAF in Afghanistan were under-resourced in terms of staff (both
on the media and strategic communications sides) and financial
resources. As late as 2006, NATO had only one officer devoted
to Afghanistan communications. However, by January 2008 this had
increased to 14.
258. It is clear from debate between NATO, ISAF and individual
member states that the international community has now shifted
its understanding of communications. There is now a shared recognition
that whilst showing military progress in domestic media is important
in maintaining morale at home, communications are also a strategic
tool to help deliver policy objectives in-country. There is also
greater consensus that communications must be treated as a key
element of counter-insurgency operations, and that co-ordinating
all these different aspects of communications is vital.
259. Within NATO, the UK is seen as one of the leading
nations on strategic communications. In 2006-07, the UK pushed
hard to ensure NATO stepped up its communications efforts on Afghanistan.
We hosted the first NATO Public Affairs conference on Afghanistan
in May 2007. We were also the first to provide Voluntary National
Contributions to help NATO build its Joint Media Operations Centre.
The UK still staffs several of the key communications posts within
ISAF and RC(S) headquarters.
260. In London, the UK Government chairs the RC(S) working
group on strategic communications. However, the distinction between
OEF military actions and ISAF military actions is often still
unclear to both Afghan and UK/international audiences. This risks
creating confusion about why international combat forces are in
Afghanistan and under what mandate they are operating.
261. Every civilian casualty incident caused by international
forces risks undermining the international effort and the credibility
of the Afghan Government. The current Commander of ISAF, General
McKiernan, has stated that he sees the issue of civilian casualties
as his most important strategic communications challenge. The
international community has worked to achieve quicker, co-ordinated
and authoritative public responses to any such incident, but more
remains to be done in this regard.
262. Ensuring domestic audiences understand that their
governments are playing a role in a coherent international community
effort is important in maintaining domestic support in key allies
for the mission. To do this, media coverage needs to be wider
than the purely military story: it needs to show context and what
the mission is aiming to achieve. Ensuring a greater share of
the burden (including non-military) is borne by international
partners will rely on sustained public willingness in contributing
nations to support action in Afghanistan.
263. It has become increasingly apparent that security
in Pakistan is crucial to security in Afghanistan. In light of
this, a widening of the international strategic communications
effort is needed in order to reduce misunderstandings and suspicion,
by establishing a strong parallel ISAF narrative on the Pakistani
side of the border. This must show that the Afghan counter-insurgency
effort is crucial to Pakistan's own security and stability, and
must be done in a way that is sensitive to the unique political,
social and security structures in Pakistan.
264. Closer working with the UN is needed to harmonise
messaging. On elections and development issues, this is already
happening. But we need to work more closely to ensure we maximise
the effect of our joint efforts.
265. One of the UK's key strategic communications objectives
is to see more coherent and consistent messaging from Afghanistan's
international partners about the international mission in Afghanistan
(in their own domestic media). Equally, in the Afghan context,
we are keen to see more "Afghanisation" of communications,
with the Afghan authorities speaking directly and authoritatively
to the Afghan people.
266. Since 2001 the scope of the reconstruction task
and the nature of the security challenge in Afghanistan have become
progressively clearer to the British public. This has been combined
with the effect on public morale of the British military death
toll and a lack of clear public understanding about why the UK's
engagement in Afghanistan is in the national interest.
267. This has led many in the UK to question how attainable
the international community's vision for a free, stable and secure
Afghanistan is, and whether British sacrifices in Afghanistan
are worthwhile. A preponderance of "bad news" stories
in the UK media (insurgency violence and British casualties) pose
an ongoing challenge. In November 2008 the UK media gave prominence
to a BBC omnibus polling question finding that 68% of the British
public want British troops out of Afghanistan within the next
268. Data from ongoing Ipsos MORI polling commissioned
by the MOD suggests that this is not necessarily the case, showing
52% of British adults supporting the UK military presence in Afghanistan
as of October 2008. However, we are not complacent about the importance
of maintaining UK public understanding of and support for our
mission in Afghanistan.
269. The British media are interested in more "kinetic"
military coverage and in focusing on Helmandthis is understandable
given the scale of the UK military effort and the concentration
of it in Helmand. However, this can give the British public a
skewed picture of the overall security situation and of the progress
being made in Afghanistan as a whole. A continued effort to raise
the profile of the Afghan authorities in the UK is also necessary,
so that the British public believes they are fit to govern, worth
supporting and ultimately capable of carrying more of the fight
270. In the UK Afghanistan Communications Strategy, the
support of the UK population and Parliament for Government objectives
in Afghanistan is identified as a key strategic communications
outcome. The UK strategy in this case rests on deepening domestic
understanding of why we are in Afghanistan and what we are achieving,
through broadening coverage beyond a kinetic focus and presenting
a clear, realistic picture.
271. The UK has put structures in place to deliver more
effective, varied and innovative programmes of media visits to
Afghanistan, particularly looking beyond Kabul and Helmand, so
that UK journalists can obtain a better picture of the situation
in the country as a whole. We are also building strong relationships
with the Afghan community in the UK, meeting them regularly and
ensuring they understand the UK's position on Afghanistan. The
aim is to make more Afghan voices available to the British media,
to give greater depth to the public narrative about international
efforts in Afghanistan. As part of this, we are supporting a conference
in February bringing together UK and Europe-based Afghans to discuss
security, development and human rights issues.
272. Our strategy involves focused cross-governmental
outreach to interested groups within the UK audience, as well
as an effort to keep the wider British public informed through
the UK media, digital diplomacy (websites and blogs), outreach
events, seminars, debates and visits. The FCO co-ordinates a regular
NGO Contact Group meeting at which senior Government officials
meet NGOs to brief them and discuss issues of concern; similarly,
the FCO co-ordinates regular Parliamentary Roundtable events for
The extremist narrative
273. Military intervention by international forces in
Afghanistan was a cause of concern to many in Muslim communities
both in the UK and overseas. Extremists including Al-Qaeda and
the Taleban have exploited this concern since 2001 when calling
for attacks against the West, by arguing that military intervention
in Afghanistan was part of some wider campaign against Islam.
However, a wide range of commentators within the Islamic world
do recognise that the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan
is part of a complex nation-building and reconstruction effort.
274. We have implemented a programme of outreach to Muslim
communities around the UK by Ministers and senior officials to
engage on foreign policy issues. Recent outreach work by the Foreign
Secretary has included a Question Time-style event with around
100 young British Muslims in Tower Hamlets. Senior government
officials have recently taken part in roundtable events with British
Muslims in Birmingham, Blackburn and Leicester as well as speaking
at the Living Islam Camp in Lincolnshire on 19 July.
275. In addition the UK has put in place a programme
of "Projecting British Islam" visits by prominent British
Muslims to Muslim-majority countries. The aim is to provide a
platform for British Muslims to share their experiences as Muslims
in Britain today and engage in constructive dialogue and debate.
An FCO-sponsored Projecting British Islam visit to Afghanistan
in April 2008 was a good example of this. A media programme around
the visit enabled the delegates to report back to UK audiences,
helping to address possible misconceptions in British Muslim communities
about what the UK is doing in Afghanistan.
276. The UK has also developed a grievances strand to
their overseas counter-terrorism PREVENT strategy, designed to
tackle such issues as aspects of foreign policy which may make
an individual vulnerable to the radicalising global jihadist narrative.
Examples of the work we are doing in this area include redrafting
foreign policy public lines to rebut the conspiracy theories articulated
by Al-Qaeda and linked extremists.
277. We have also worked hard to explain our foreign
policy to the UK and international public in order to address
inaccurate perceptions. We do this through media and public diplomacy
work, including putting Arabic and Urdu-speaking spokespeople
forward to media outlets such as Al Jazeera, and speeches, interviews
and articles by Ministers and Ambassadors.
278. To break down Afghan misconceptions about UK life
and the myths around UK motivations for intervening in Afghanistan,
the UK strategy will continue to include public diplomacy and
outreach efforts such as bilateral visits by prominent Muslim
opinion-formers. The visit by Helmand Provincial Councillors to
the UK, at the Government's invitation, (4-11 June 2008) was a
good example of the power of showing the diverse face of modern
Britain to Afghan influencers. It is also important that the international
community speaks coherently about its motives and actions in Afghanistan,
and has the capacity to clarify disputed facts quickly, in order
that international engagement in Afghanistan cannot be misconstrued.
Afghanistan Government Communications
279. Under Taleban rule, Afghanistan's already minimal
communications infrastructure was effectively destroyed. The Taleban's
hostility to modern media which they deemed "un-Islamic"
included the prohibition of television sets, VCRs, satellite dishes,
video and audio cassettes, and the Internet. Foreign newspapers
and books were selectively banned, and there were very few regularly
published newspapers. The Voice of Shariah, a Taleban radio station,
broadcast only religious programming, although BBC Dari and Pashto
broadcasts from outside the country were available. There were
no laws providing for freedom of speech and of the press, and
journalists were subject to restrictions, arrest and intimidation.
280. Although access to modern media remains very limited
in Afghanistan (largely due to lack of electricity and the cost
of telecommunications equipment), and low literacy rates mean
many Afghans cannot access print media, the media landscape has
changed enormously since 2001. There is a widespread demand for
reliable and credible information.
281. The principles of free speech are enshrined in the
Afghan constitution and further defined in a strong media law,
passed by both Houses of Parliament in 2008. However the media
law was opposed by the Palace and the Information Ministry and
has not yet been implemented by the government.
282. There is a growing independent media sector in Afghanistan,
although this is a fragile development. There are 60 local and
national AM and FM radio stations (over 83% of Afghan households
own a radio); 16 independent television stations, as well as the
government-owned Afghanistan National Television; scores of local
and national press publications; several independent Afghan news
agencies and over half a million internet users.
283. In parallel with this there have been improvements
in the Afghan Government's own capacity to communicate credibly
and authoritatively. The new Government Media and Information
Centre (GMIC) in Kabul now provides an important platform for
the Government to get its messages out to its people. It is part
of the Office of the President's Spokesperson, and the only government
office working to co-ordinate public information efforts cross-governmentally
and with international partners.
284. In Helmand, Governor Mangal is making impressive
efforts to reach out to the Helmandi population both in person
at shuras and over the radio. He is able to interact directly
with them, react to events in the province and showcase progress
in the province in a way that previous governors haven't been
able to achieve. He has shown himself increasingly adept at getting
positive messages out through both local and national media over
the past year. His press team is coached and mentored by the CMMH
Strategic Communications team.
285. The UK has contributed to international investment
in the Afghan Government's communications capacity: the British
Embassy in Kabul first proposed the concept of the GMIC, and helped
to drive the project forward in concert with international partners.
The start-up costs of $1.3 million were shared equally between
the UK, US and Canada, with a further $174,000 from NATO: total
UK spend on the GMIC up to April 2009 will be $888,623. The Embassy
has allocated £500,000 per financial year for 2009-10 and
2010-11 to support the GMIC, making a major contribution towards
its estimated annual operating budget of $2 million per annum.
A communications consultant from the Embassy works regularly as
a mentor at the GMIC. The UK is also supporting the GMIC with
a UNDP-managed project aimed at building the capability of the
Office of the President's Spokesperson and developing a government
communications strategy ($3.3 million from 2008-10).
286. The UK has contributed to the development of a still-fragile
independent Afghan media by providing financial support for media
development projects, delivered by organisations such as the BBC
World Service Trust (BBC WST). For example in 2005 we provided
£1.3 million (2005-08) in support to the BBC WST's launch
of the weekly programme "Afghan Women's Hour", and the
training of female Afghan reporters.
287. The UK also contributes to the BBC WST Afghan Education
Projects (£250,000 in the 2008-09 financial year). This funds
educational radio broadcasting initiatives such as "New Home,
New Life", a popular radio drama produced in both Dari and
Pashto, which has educational messages woven into its storylines.
According to AEP research, nearly 75% of active Afghan radio listeners
listen to "New Home, New Life" once a month or more.
288. The UK has also provided support for developing
Afghanistan's communications infrastructure: for example, in the
2007-08 financial year the FCO allocated funding to the BBC WST
for three extra FM radio transmitters to be constructed in southern
Afghanistan. However, these are yet to be built as the BBC WST
has not identified suitable sites or resolved security concerns
around the project.
289. Lack of broadcast communications infrastructure
remains a key challenge to better Afghan Government communications,
and this limits its ability to reach as much of the Afghan populace
as possible. Establishing a reliable electricity supply and protecting
technical infrastructure from insurgency sabotage are examples
of the kind of basic but necessary steps required to build a functioning
290. Institutionalising the GMIC within the Afghan Government
and standardising best communications practice across government
departments will require reliable, long-term international funding
and support. The Office of the President's Spokesperson currently
offers little leadership, and the communications performance of
Ministries is very varied. Ministries face practical communications
challenges ranging from defunct press offices to intermittent
electricity supply and lack of IT. Some Ministries which are central
to the quality of peoples' lives fail to communicate with the
Afghan public. There is currently no coherent international effort
to help the Afghan Government address this situation, and the
ANDS does not encompass government communications.
291. Ensuring that the Afghan Government implements the
media law will also be a challenge: in areas of the country where
rule of law remains weak, ensuring that the freedom of expression
guaranteed by the Afghan Constitution is delivered is difficult.
Journalists are still sometimes subject to intimidation and restrictions
(both from the insurgency and the Government). Afghan Media Watch
alleged that there had been 50 cases of violence against journalists
during 200826 attributed to the Government, six to the
Taleban and the rest unknown.
292. The Afghan Government increasingly has to contend
with the insurgency's ability to wage sophisticated information
warfarethe insurgency propaganda machine is highly reactive
and not bound by the complexities of fact. "Traditional"
communications channels (ie word of mouth) remain powerful, especially
in the south of the country; in the absence of timely and authoritative
government information, rumour and propaganda can easily dominate.
293. The UK Afghanistan Communications Strategy is clear
that the first priority is to increase the Afghan Government's
ability to communicate its credibility and authority, particularly
in the Pashtun Belt (including through a developed private media
sector). To this end, the UK will continue to support the Government
in developing its communications capacity and capabilities, primarily
through the GMIC but also through continuing investment in infrastructure
development. The UK's aim in this respect is to support growing
Afghan ownership of communications. We aim to work with the Afghan
Government to establish a communications development plan as part
of the ANDS. The British Embassy in Kabul is currently working
on a two to three year development and funding plan for the GMIC
with the Afghan Government and international supporters.
294. Improvements in security and rule of law, achieved
both through international effort and increased Afghan capacity,
will be necessary in order to deliver the conditions in which
a free and independent media can thrive while the insurgency propaganda
effort withers away.
295. The three major challenges for strengthening Afghan
Government communications are that its ability and will to communicate
with the public is weak, the independent Afghan media is inexperienced
and fragile, and media penetration of much of the country is severely
limited by lack of infrastructure. These problems are interlinked
and the UK alone cannot remedy them effectively. The pressing
need is for a coherent international programme to address all
these issues simultaneously. Until such a programme is put in
place, international efforts will continue to be dispersed, independent
and therefore less effective.
296. Ensuring the continued growth and vibrancy of Afghanistan's
private media sector will similarly require sustained international
development investment, political pressure, and capacity-building
through establishing centres of excellence for training and developing
297. A great deal has been achieved across Afghanistan
as a whole since 2001, and also in Helmand and the South since
the UK deployment in 2006. But the scale of the task and the complexity
of many issues mean that there remains a long way to go and Afghanistan
will continue to require significant international support for
the foreseeable future. Given the situation in Afghanistan in
2001, progress to datealthough slower than we would wishhas
nonetheless been significant. The recent review of the UK Strategic
Engagement in Afghanistan reconfirmed the validity of the three
strategic objectives of the December 2007 strategy,
which frame our engagement in Afghanistan. However, the review
also identified the need for a step change in Afghanistan including
better focussing the international community's efforts on improving
governance, reinvigorating the political process, encouraging
Afghan-led efforts to promote reconciliation, and promoting the
rule of law. Increasing Afghan institutional capacity remains
a top priority and will be key to effectively and sustainably
countering the insurgency.
298. Our efforts are focussed on supporting the Government
of Afghanistan's delivery of its core functionsat national,
provincial and district levelsin order to connect more
closely with its people and provide economic growth and jobs.
This rationale underpins our focus on the twin track approaches
of Afghanisation and Localisation.
299. Security continues to be a major preoccupation.
Recognising that security is about more than physical military
presence, we are working to increase the Afghan State's capacity
to deliver justice and basic services in order to drive a wedge
between the people and the insurgency. Maintaining security and
keeping up the pressure on the insurgency will also remain important.
300. As reflected in the first objective of the December
2007 strategy, it will only be possible to deliver sustainable
progress in Afghanistan if the international community adequately
addresses the regional dimension, including but not exclusively,
Pakistan. The UK's Afghanistan strategy is increasingly being
taken forward as part of the UK Government's approach to the wider
region and we are giving our full support to proposals from the
incoming US Administration for a regional envoy.
301. The UK and the Afghan Government's aim should be
to deliver progressively improved governance on the back of Presidential
elections in 2009 and parliamentary elections in spring of 2010,
from which sufficient momentum can be generated that prepares
the way to begin transition to greater Afghan primacy and ownership.
23 January 2009
Ev 75 Back
The Joint Co-ordination and Monitoring Board was constituted for
overall strategic co-ordination of the implementation of the Afghanistan
Compact. It consists of seven representatives from the Afghan
Government and 21 representatives of the international community.
It is to be constituted for a period of five years from April
2006 to March 2011 and convenes meetings at least four times a
Not published. Back
Not published. Back
The Helmand Roadmap is the UK's integrated civilian and military
strategy for advancing stabilisation in Helmand Province, in southern
From NATO International Military Staff briefing to the North Atlantic
Council of 17 December 2008. Back
Table taken from ISAF website: http://www.nato.int/isaf/docu/epub/pdf/isaf_placemat_081201.pdf Back
A Provincial Reconstruction Team is a multinational team of military
and civilian personnel based in provincial areas of Afghanistan
with the aim of helping to extend the authority of central government
and facilitating reconstruction by contributing to an improved
security environment, particularly through aiding Security Sector
Reform. Each PRT has a great deal of flexibility in operations,
depending on the local environment, so some PRTs are able to focus
almost entirely on reconstruction, while others, such as those
in the south and east conduct a greater deal of counter-insurgency
and counter-narcotics activity. In 2008, PRTs across Afghanistan
completed over 10,000 projects. While PRTs are usually led by
an individual nation, it is common to find multinational compositions
with several nations providing military or civilian expertise
Afghanistan has signed and ratified the following international
treaties for the protection of human rights (with dates of ratification):
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (24 April 1983), Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (24 April 1983), Covenant
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (5 August 1983), Convention
on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (5 March 2003),
Convention Against Torture (26 June 1987), the Convention on the
Rights of the Child (27 April 1994) and its optional protocols
on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
and On the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (24 September
The collection of primary data necessary for statistical compilation
virtually ceased in the mid 1990s with the collapse of the provincial
reporting network. However, the statistics from the 1990s, as
well as from 2001 when statistics collection was started again
can give a picture of the situation in 2001. Back
Statistics taken from IMF report on Afghanistan, October 2002. Back
2005-06 data. IMF PRGF 4th review, July 2008. Back
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Back
The SCO is made up of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
and Uzbekistan, with President Karzai attending since 2004 as
part of a SCO-Afghanistan contact group. Back
Reduce the insurgency on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan
border; Prevent the return of Al-Qaeda; Build a legitimate self-sufficient
state which can pursue the first two objectives itself. Back