British bases in Helmand being destroyed
LASHKARGAH (PAN): The United Kingdom has renewed its commitment to supporting Afghanistan, specially the southern province of Helmand, beyond the 2014 end to the current International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission.
British Ambassador Sir Richard Stagg told reporters in Lashkargah late on Wednesday: “Even after pulling out its troops, the UK will remain committed to training and equipping Afghanistan’s National Security Forces.”
Stagg said the objective behind his visit was to the security transition process and meet British soldiers in Helmand. The UK would destroy all military bases in the province that Afghans forces could not secure, he revealed.
Afghan forces were capable of dealing on their own with the challenge posed by militants, he said, referring to their independent counterinsurgency operations earlier in the year. Heavy losses were inflicted on fighters in the offensives, he recalled.
The ambassador noted the morale of the local security personnel, particularly the Afghan National Army (ANA) had significantly increased. They could position operations and maintain security in all parts of the country, he said.
He said the number of British soldiers staying in post 2014 would be known once Afghanistan and Britain concluded a bilateral security pact. A decision on British troop numbers would largely depend on the government in Kabul, the diplomat continued.
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