Danish PM calls for more Afghan civilian aid
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, whose government recently approved a two-year plan for engagement in Afghanistan, has called for greater international development assistance to the country.
His country would spend $5.18 million on training and equipping the Afghan police force and promoting good governance in southern Helmand province, the visiting dignitary told journalists in Lashkargah late on Thursday.
Flanked by Governor Gulab Mangal, Rasmussen said the overall Danish troop contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force would be reduced from the current 750 to 650 soldiers over the next two years.
The objective behind his trip was to visit Danish soldiers, assess the security situation in Helmand and meet the governor, said the prime minister, who promised more civilian aid and increased focus on training of Afghan security forces.
Governor Mangal, acknowledging significant assistance from Denmark over the last few years, said Rasmussen had promised him more civilian aid. Copenhagen had funded the construction of a large number of schools in Helmand, he said, hoping for continued help.
Under the Helmand Plan, which was approved by Denmark's ruling coalition in late February, there will be no Danish combat units in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. However, it will continue an active engagement in the country with an emphasis on development assistance.
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