I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is today publishing the 19th progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010.
On 1 July three UK servicemen were shot and killed by a member of the Afghan police as they left an Afghan check point in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. An Afghan policeman was detained following the attack and an investigation into the incident has been launched. This tragic event will be reported on fully in July’s statement.
In June the UK continued to support job creation and private sector development in Afghanistan, including in Helmand. Through our support to Mercy Corps more than 1,500 male and female students graduated from technical and vocational education and training courses in June. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) board approved the first review of Afghanistan’s programme of support, but more work needs to be done by the Afghan Government to progress key reforms. This approval is vital for giving donors the confidence to make long-term funding commitments at the Tokyo conference. Full details of outcomes of the Tokyo conference will be covered in the July report.
The Kabul ministerial conference on the Istanbul process took place on 14 June. I attended, together with Foreign Ministers from the region and supporting countries. The conference endorsed key confidence building measures in security, development and economic affairs. The Secretary of State for International Development visited Afghanistan between 30 June and 3 July to press the Afghan Government to commit to key reforms in the run up to the Tokyo conference.
An Extraordinary Session of the Afghan Parliament was held on 21 June to debate governance and corruption issues. Over 150 MPs and Senators attended, even though the Session was held during the Afghan Parliament recess. This was the first time that such a Session had taken place.
I am placing the report in the Library of the House. It will also be published on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk).