Plans set for Afghan meeting

Preparations at the FCO’s Protocol Department are underway for a 68-nation conference on the future of Afghanistan, at which a new UN envoy and a new co-ordinator representing NATO will be decided.

The meeting on 28 January is expected to be attended by ministers or leaders from the 43 powers involved in Afghanistan, and will seek to bolster coordination as the West seeks an exit strategy from the country. Criteria for the transfer of provinces to Afghan control will also be finalised and the meeting will also agree international financial backing for an Afghan-led programme designed to reintegrate Taliban forces into mainstream society.
However, some foreign diplomats in London have privately queried the timing behind the snap conference, saying a successful meeting would boost Prime Minister Brown’s ratings in the run-up to the general election next spring.