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Afghanistan roadmap must not replicate Iraq

‘The Iraq roadmap cannot be replicated in Afghanistan, a country which needs a new focus on development’, says Christian Aid.

In response to recent statements from the UK Government to increase the Afghanistan budget for military operations, Christian Aid’s country manager Serena Di Matteo says:

‘We have serious concerns toward this approach and the possible negative implications in replicating the Iraq roadmap in Afghanistan’.

‘In order to ensure peace and security in Afghanistan the International Security Forces have a very important role to play in supporting the Afghan Government.

However, the solution cannot be only military and needs to be combined with political efforts and development activities.’

Christian Aid is calling on the government to implement a strategy oriented to reinforce Afghan institutions through a more substantial and sustainable allocation of resources into the development and reconstruction sectors.

Britain's military budget for Afghanistan is set to soar by more than 50 percent next year, as the government switches its focus from Iraq to fighting the Taliban, according to Treasury figures.

Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are forecast to cost 3.7 billion pounds in the financial year 2008-2009.

Overall costs for operations in Afghanistan will grow from 1.51 billion pounds in the financial year 2007/08 to 2.32 billion pounds in 2008/9, a rise of 54 percent.

'If there will be an escalation of military operations with a worsening of the security environment, it will be very difficult for humanitarian workers to keep a strong presence and to implement development activities,' added De Matteo.

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For more press information or to arrange an interview with Serena De Matteo, please contact press@christian-aid.org or call on 0207 523 2421

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in more than 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.