HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 cc1184-5W
Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the UK's involvement in Afghanistan. [68541]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The UK is working alongside the Afghan Transitional Administration and international partners to support the Bonn political process. The UK is committed to achieving its campaign objectives of defeating international terrorism and breaking the link between Afghanistan and terrorism (the details of which were placed in the Library of the House on 16 October 2001).

The UK was the first western nation to reopen a diplomatic mission in Kabul on 19 November 2001.

The UK has given £60 million since 11 September to UN agencies, the Red Cross and other organisations towards the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan. The UK has pledged a further £200 million from the UK over the next five years for both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. The UK was the first donor to contribute to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund with £100 million. Development assistance focuses on five key areas: economic management; security sector reform (funded from the joint DFID/FCO/MOD Global Conflict Prevention Pool); humanitarian assistance; the development of sustainable livelihoods; and support to the political process.

The UK leads in co-ordinating international efforts and developing a strategy to assist the Afghan Government to tackle drugs.

The UK has developed close links with the new Transitional Administration and it's predecessor, the Interim Administration, through a number of high level visits including by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and other ministerial colleagues to Afghanistan, and President Karzai to the UK. The UK is contributing towards the future development of Afghan leaders through an expanded Chevening scholarship scheme.

After successfully leading ISAF in Afghanistan for the past six months, the UK handed over this role to Turkey on 20 June. The UK will continue to play a role in ISAF, with around 400 military personnel still committed. We remain committed to coalition activities in Afghanistan.

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