22 May 2010

British ministers in Afghanistan for talks

8:16 pm on 22 May 2010

Three British cabinet ministers, led by Foreign Secretary William Hague, are in Kabul to meet Afghan political and military leaders.

Mr Hague, Defence Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell are looking at ways to accelerate Afghan troop training.

Dr Fox said he was seeking to pull out UK troops "as soon as possible" and Britain was not a "global policeman".

The BBC reports Mr Mitchell said it was "crucial" to create a functioning Afghan state.

On their RAF flight into Kabul, the ministers indicated they were not planning any significant changes to UK policy on Afghanistan.

And Dr Fox said the sacrifices of British troops remained essential.

"When I got this job the very first question I asked myself was 'do we have to be in Afghanistan, do our troops have to take these costs of life and limb?' And my answer is still 'yes'."

Knockback for Bagram prisoners

A United States federal appeals court has ruled that prisoners at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan cannot challenge their detention in a US court in the same way as Guantanamo Bay detainees.

The case involves a Tunisian and two Yemeni men, who are among 800 prisoners held at Bagram.

The decision upholds the position of both the Bush and Obama adminstrations