Article published on the 2009-11-06 Latest update 2009-11-06 15:35 TU
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent out a warning to Afghan President Hamid Karzai that he risks losing western support if his second term in office fails to live up to expectations. His comments came after the Taliban accused the United Nations of “horrendous crimes” in the country.
Brown said he had spoken to Karzai, whose re-election was confirmed this week, several times in recent days and urged progress on the key issues of security, governance, reconciliation, economic development and regional relations.
"If the government fails to meet these five tests, it will not only have failed its own people, it will have forfeited its right to international support," Brown said in a speech in London.
He said he had urged Karzai to draw up a new anti-corruption law, create a new body to investigate graft and frame new rules for the transparent awarding of contracts.
Brown also struck a warning note over appointments, suggesting that Britain would not support a system based on nepotism.
"Cronies and warlords should have no place in the future of a democratic Afghanistan,” he said.
"Sadly, the government of Afghanistan has become a by-word for corruption. And I am not prepared to put the lives of British men and women in harm's way for a government that does not stand up against corruption."
Brown called on Afghan forces to bear the brunt of frontline operations but in spite of the rising number of British casualties – seven soldiers have been killed since Saturday – he said Britain would not give up the struggle to stop Al Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a launch pad for attacks across the globe.
"We cannot, must not and will not walk away," he said.
His comments came after the Taliban had released a statement attacking the United Nations’ role in Afghanistan.
In a statement on its website, the Taliban accused the UN of "suppressing and oppressing" Muslims while supporting "arrogant invaders".
"They have their share in the mass murders of the Afghan people and are the cause of the tragedies and sufferings of the Afghans," the statement said in English.
"During the past eight years, never a day has passed without the Americans and Western brutal forces not committing crimes, murder or torture against our people or not encroaching on our national and religious values," it said.
The UN is temporarily withdrawing 600 foreign staff - more than 50 per cent of the current total – after a Taliban attack on a hostel nine days ago in which five UN employees and two Afghans were killed.
Indian Premier Manmohan Singh, however, urged the international community to "stay the course" in Afghanistan.
"We are in this region and what happens in Afghanistan, what happens in Pakistan affects us intimately," Singh told reporters after talks with the European Union represented by Swedish premier Fredrik Reinfeldt.
"We appreciate the efforts of international community to stabilise Afghanistan and it is our sincere hope that the international community will stay the course."
Nato's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) announced that two American soldiers had been killed in a bomb blast on Thursday in the south of the country. A British soldier also died on Thursday.
Their deaths bring to 463 the number of international soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year.
ISAF also confirmed on Friday that two Nato soldiers have been missing for two days in the west of the country where soldiers are conducting a massive manhunt to track them down.
The soldiers, whose nationality was not released, went missing from a routine supply mission on 4 November.
Afghanistan - Nato
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