”British troops may stay in Afghanistan for another five years”

March 25th, 2009 - 5:34 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 25 (ANI): The new UK Ambassador to Afghanistan has said that British forces may be in Afghanistan for another five years while civilians could stay more for than 20 years.

Mark Sedwill, who will take up his post next week, told BBC Radio Five Live that the Afghanistan Army and police should be strong enough in five years to take over, adding that British workers would be there much longer helping with reconstruction and development.

Sedwill outlined his purpose as being to support the British military and co-ordinate the British effort alongside allies, the UN and NATO.

“I think in a few years” time, I hope maybe five, maybe a bit more, that we will have built up the Afghan army and the Afghan police to the stage where they can take on more of the fight themselves. Then we will see our troops step back,” he added.

“On the civilian side, we will be there for a very long time. There’’s a massive job to do,” he said.

This includes supporting the Afghan government to make the country stable and secure, governance, reconstruction, development and tackling narcotics.

The UK currently has more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Asked whether that number was likely to increase, Sedwill said the government would review it if more were needed but the issue was to get the Afghans to build up their army. (ANI)

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