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U.K. finances Afghan forces past 2014

April 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, April 19 (UPI) -- Afghan national security forces will get $111 million per year from the British government once international forces leave in 2014, London announced.

"The U.K. contribution of $111 million per annum to the funds to support the Afghan national security forces will make Afghanistan a safer and more stable country and protect our own national interests," said British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond.

International forces in Afghanistan are slowly handing security responsibility over to their Afghan counterparts. Afghan forces already lead the way in some conventional and special operations in the country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that "so long as the Afghan side is unable to provide security in the country, any artificial deadlines for troops' withdrawal do not seem quite correct," reports Russia's state-run news service RIA Novosti.

Kabul witnessed an 18-hour siege that ended Monday. Afghan security forces were praised for their ability to respond to the violence. Lavrov, however, said the Kremlin was "concerned" about the security situation in Afghanistan once international forces pulled out of the country.

"Unfortunately despite all the international efforts, the threat of terrorism and drug trafficking from Afghanistan persists," he was quoted as saying.

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