Denmark will remain committed to Afghanistan
By Khaama Press - Thu Dec 02 2010, 9:10 am
“Denmark will remain committed to Afghanistan”: Minister for Foreign Affairs visits Helmand and Kabul.
Denmark’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Lene Espersen, has completed a two-day visit to Afghanistan. On the first day, Mrs. Lene Espersen visited the Helmand Province together with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik and the Danish Minister of Defence, Mrs. Gitte Lillelund Bech. On the second day, Mrs. Espersen was in Kabul.
During her visit to Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Espersen emphasized that Afghanistan is a top Danish foreign policy priority. Afghanistan is one of the largest recipients of Danish development assistance. Mrs. Espersen stressed that Denmark will remain committed to Afghanistan in the years to come.
In Helmand, the Danish high-level delegation had the opportunity to speak with the Danish battle group and key military and civilian actors in Helmand. “The visit to Helmand was a welcome opportunity to discuss the security situation and the civilian and development efforts on the ground. In the years to come, we will gradually transition to Afghan security responsibility”, Mrs. Espersen said.
The Foreign Minister also held meetings with the provincial governor of Helmand, Mr. Gulab Mangal, and she visited the police training center in Helmand, which is supported financially by Denmark. Foreign Minister Espersen said: “Building a capable Afghan police force is a high priority. I will look at how Denmark can do more to help educate and train the Afghan police. Compared to when I visited Helmand in March 2010, I have also witnessed significant progress with regards to governance and development, which is encouraging.”
In Kabul, the Foreign Minister had the opportunity to meet with General Petraeus, the ISAF commander in Afghanistan; Mark Sedwill, NATO’s senior civilian representative; and chairman of the High Peace Council Rabbani. The Foreign Minister said: “There is no doubt that the situation in Afghanistan is complex and that major challenges remain. It is important that we continue to look at how we best support the building of the Afghan capabilities – both military and civilians. It is the key to transition.”
Also in Kabul, the Foreign Minister attended a meeting with Afghan women from key civil society organizations, parliament, the High Peace Council and government. The event focused on political empowerment, the legal sector, and women’s role in achieving peace and security. The Foreign Minister underlined that “Denmark will continue the work to promote women being empowered and obtaining influence in the Afghan society. The role of women in peace and security in Afghanistan is critical to create a stable country. Denmark will continue to support Afghan women’s networks, civil society and human rights institutions“.