Brown, NATO chief discuss Afghanistan

09:34, November 13, 2009      

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Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (L) greets NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at 10 Downing Street in London November 12, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and visiting NATO Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday agreed that the international community should continue to show its resolve in Afghanistan.

Brown welcomed the secretary-general to Downing Street No. 10 and congratulated him on establishing himself quickly in his new role.

The two leaders' conversation focused on Afghanistan and recent political developments in the country. Both were clear that Afghan President Hamid Karzai needs to use his second term in office to concentrate on issues such as governance and corruption.

Brown and Rasmussen also agreed that work needs to be done to establish a gradual handover of security responsibility to the Afghans in certain districts starting from next year.

In an interview with Sky News, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also reiterated the reasons Britain, together with 41 other countries, stays in Afghanistan.

Miliband highlighted the need to combat international terrorism and to ensure that the Afghan government and people are eventually in position to govern and defend their own country.

"The stakes are very high because a victory for global jihad in Afghanistan would have major ramifications not just for that, that country, not just for its neighbor Pakistan, but also for the rest of the world, because I repeat Afghanistan and the badlands of the Afghan-Pakistan border are the incubator of choice for international terrorism," he said.

Miliband said there's a point in all conflicts where people rightly ask hard questions because of the scale of the loss, because of concerns about the nature of the enemy.

"But it's at precisely that time when we need to be as clear as possible about the plan that is being implemented, about the metrics of progress and about the way in which success will be achieved," he said.

About 232 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001. Many critics have criticized the lack of equipment for troops, and several military commanders have resigned, questioning the mission's overall strategy.

Source: Xinhua
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