Wardak welcomes NATO's pledge to boost army and Police
Afghanistan, Kabul,15,October / corr Trend A.Hakimi/ The defence minister, Abdul Rahium Wardak, has said NATO leaders believe the only way of combating insecurity in the country is to strengthen the national security forces. Speaking at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday after his trip to the NATO summit in Budapest, Wardak said NATO members at the conference had agreed to help increase the capabilities of the national army.
The United States has already pledged $20 billion to enlarge the army. The United States wants to almost double the army's strength to 134,000 men by 2012.
The defence minister also said foreign forces would not fail in their war against insurgents in Afghanistan, but he admitted that security in the country had grown worse in recent months.
His comments follow those of a senior British commander in Helmand, who said the war against the Taliban could not be won, an attitude the US defence secretary labeled defeatist.
Wardak, who represented Afghanistan at the two-day NATO summit, also said illegal poppy growth in the country was directly linked to the insurgency and he welcomed NATO's announcement that it would help eradicate poppy in the country.
"Defense Ministers of the NATO-member states agreed in their last meeting held in Budapest to assist Afghanistan government in destroying poppy fields and heroin labs," Wardak said at the conference.
He said there would be no peace in the country if drug production, which accounts for about 90% of the world's opium supply, continued unabated.
Wardak also said a US and Iraqi army crack down on insurgents in Iraq had forced many militants to move to Afghanistan.
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