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NATO considering to provide air support in Afghanistan after 2014

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 21, IRNA -- The British government is considering its future relations with Afghanistan after ending ground combat operation in 2014 and it is not known yet if NATO will stay to act as the country's air force, says British Defence Minister Lord Astor.

“No decision has been taken to provide air support to the Afghan National Army beyond the end of 2014. Any agreement by NATO to do so would be between NATO and the Afghan government,” Astor said.

“Work is ongoing to consider what the relationship between the UK and Afghanistan will be beyond 2014. Any future UK involvement in Afghanistan would need to take account of the broader political and security considerations on the ground,” he said.

The minister was making a written parliamentary reply, published Wednesday,
when asked by Lord West, former head of the British navy, whether NATO will be required to provide air support in Afghanistan after 2014 and if the UK would be involved.

In his latest monthly report, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that June saw the anticipated “increase in security incidents” with insurgents continuing its attacks in an attempt to reassert itself, but that the Afghan National Security Forces “continue to respond effectively.”

“The Afghan forces dealt with a major, sophisticated attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on June 28 professionally and speedily,” his report said.

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