New British Government Calls Afghanistan Its Top Foreign Policy Priority

British Foreign Minister William Hague and Defense Minister Liam Fox meet with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul

From Reuters:  Ministers from Britain’s new coalition government were in Afghanistan on Saturday for talks with President Hamid Karzai and other officials …

Foreign Secretary William Hague, Defense Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell will meet Karzai and some of his ministers, visit British troops and also see a British-funded development project, officials said.

The delegation arrived on Saturday morning amid heightened security in the capital, Kabul, and also included British football star David Beckham, who would meet troops at their camps.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government formed after Britain’s May 6 election says its top foreign policy priority is the strategy for Afghanistan, where Britain has 9,500 troops battling Taliban insurgents.

Conservative leader David Cameron said during the election campaign he would not set an artificial deadline for withdrawing British troops from Afghanistan but said they should start coming home in the next five years.

Fox told the Times newspaper in London, however, that the government hoped to speed up the process.  (photo: AP)

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