UK forces to focus on development: Beckett | india | Hindustan Times
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UK forces to focus on development: Beckett

india Updated: Jul 12, 2006 15:23 IST
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British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said on Monday most additional British forces being sent to Afghanistan will work on infrastructure and other projects designed to improve the daily lives of Afghans.

Beckett commented during a joint press briefing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after a meeting at the State Department.

Rice was to host a dinner in Beckett's honour Monday evening.

Beckett said her government's decision to include infrastructure experts among the additional 900 Afghanistan-bound troops reflects a recognition that provision of "concrete deliverables" to Afghans is sorely needed.

She denied that the NATO-led force had underestimated the degree to which Taliban insurgents would be able to create havoc five years after being driven from power.

But she then acknowledged that there had been "perhaps a slightly stronger reaction" from the Taliban than had been anticipated.

Rice conceded that Afghanistan still has determined enemies but said she would take "this Afghanistan any day over the Afghanistan which we found when we, the British and others, liberated the Afghan people from one of the worst regimes of the 20th and 21st centuries."

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