Partnership and cooperation agreement with Afghanistan
Delivered in Plenary - 13th June 2013
Shortly it will be twelve years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, and with the 2014 withdrawal deadline looming for ISAF forces it is paramount that progress does not unravel as Western troops leave the country. It is essential that withdrawal is measured and sensitive to regional developments, and increasingly vigilant as the Afghan army and police begin to take full responsibility again for national security.
The Karzai administration’s handling of the transition process must also be closely monitored and the 2014 presidential elections must be fair, free and transparent. While there continues to be overwhelming support in my country for our troops, the war itself has become increasingly costly in terms of resources and casualties and therefore very unpopular. We must therefore strive for visible improvements to Afghanistan’s political processes and infrastructures for the ongoing battle against widespread corruption within the judiciary, government and military. This must not end when our troops leave. 2014 will see Afghanistan navigating dangerous times, so we need to engage positively to cement the vast progress made in areas such as women’s rights and offer our full support for a peaceful, stable and prosperous future in Afghanistan.