U.K. pledges enduring commitment to Afghanistan

Jan. 8, 2014 at 9:16 AM

NEW DELHI, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Afghanistan is too fragile to be left alone once international combat obligations draw to a close later this year, a British diplomat said Wednesday.

"Our combat troops will go by the end of this year," James Bevan, British high commissioner to India, said in New Delhi. "But Afghanistan is too important and still too fragile to be abandoned by the international community."

International combat forces are expected to leave Afghanistan later this year as Afghan national forces take on the primary responsibility of securing their country. Continued engagement, Devan said, is important not only for Afghanistan but for the region as well.

"It matters strategically, because an unstable Afghanistan would threaten this whole region and our friends in this region, including India," he said.

British forces helped train their Afghan counterparts from bases in Helmand province.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday it was difficult for NATO allies to plan for any post-2014 role without a bilateral security arrangement with Kabul.

Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, a council of tribal elders, ratified the U.S. deal in November. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the new president that emerges from April elections should sign off on the agreement, not him.

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