Britain unveils strategy for terror crackdown in Afghanistan-Pakistan

Britain unveils strategy for terror crackdown in Afghanistan-Pakistan
PTI
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First Published: Thu, Apr 30 2009. 10 53 AM IST
Updated: Thu, Apr 30 2009. 10 53 AM IST
London: Britain has unveiled a new strategy to crackdown on the terror networks in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan which are the “crucible for global terrorism” and the breeding ground for international terrorists.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who visited Afghanistan and Pakistan this week, unveiled the new strategy on Wednesday night and said that his country will also increase its troops strength in Afghanistan.
“Our priority is the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan which are the crucible for global terrorism; the breeding ground for international terrorists and the source of a chain of terror that links the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of Britain,” Brown said in the House of Commons.
Brown said Britain would provide £665 million in assistance over the next four years to Pakistan, refocusing much of Britain’s aid - including over £125 million of education spending - on the border areas.
He revealed that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari would visit the UK next month to take forward “our shared efforts to tackle terrorism, support economic development and harness the international community’s assistance for Pakistan.
“We will continue our discussions to agree a concordat to strengthen our practical cooperation to meeting all these challenges.”
Brown noted that in Pakistan, ”the army and security services are now dealing with the wider territorial ambitions of the Pakistan Taliban.“
Last year around 2000 civilians and security personnel were killed in Pakistan in terrorist attacks. “Suicide bombs in Pakistan, once relatively rare, were used 60 times last year and are at the same level this year - an almost ten-fold rise in just a year,” he said.
“And we know that terrorist leaders orchestrate attacks around the world from the border areas; and the stronger connections that now exist between the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban, and between them and al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, now requires us to take further more determined and concerted action,” the British premier said.
Britain would work to build up the Afghan national army from its current strength of over 80,000 to a total of 134,000 by late 2011. Already 300 of “our forces in Helmand are dedicated to training them.
Britain, the second biggest part of a NATO-led force in Afghanistan after the United States, had already said it would boost forces from 8,000 to 8,300 for the August polls but it would now be increased to 9,000 until the autumn.
The UK is providing £15 million for election support in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai has given his personal assurances to Brown about his determination to ensure credible, inclusive elections.
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First Published: Thu, Apr 30 2009. 10 53 AM IST