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Afghan confidence needed, Miliband says

  |   Jan. 22, 2010 at 3:07 PM
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a top foreign policy priority for London but requires strong regional governance to succeed, British officials said.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in a written statement to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee outlined London's objectives in the war and stabilization effort in Central Asia.

"The war in Afghanistan and the related challenges in Pakistan are the number one foreign policy priority for the British government," he stressed.

Washington coupled stability in Pakistan with the success of its revised strategy for Afghanistan, putting as much emphasis on government reform and state institutions as military conflict.

Miliband said London would view the mission as a success when the government of Afghanistan is able to secure the country against insurgent and al-Qaida threats.

He added that the new Afghan government in 2010 needed military and civilian resources in order to stand on its own in addressing national security challenges.

"This strategy needs to be led by the Afghans, but it requires international support," he said.

His testimony was part of an effort to garner political support for a London conference on Afghanistan scheduled for Jan. 29.

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