Speaking on a visit to Afghanistan, George Osborne and William Hague announced plans to create a Stabilisation and Reconstruction Force to help deliver security and win hearts and minds in conflict and post-conflict zones.
The Force will bring together the skills necessary to carry out vital stabilisation work helping to bridge the current gap between military capability and post-conflict reconstruction work. It will be capable of working in conflict zones, and carrying out crucial activities - from building bridges and repairing power supplies to helping to build local governance structures.
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
"We need to go even further in making sure that, as a country, we can contribute rapidly and in full measure to stabilisation operations — in the golden hours after the intense fighting stops, when the battle for hearts and minds must still be won, and when we have struggled to deliver reconstruction and development aid with the speed required.”
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said:
“Under a Conservative government, the work being done in Afghanistan will be a priority for the entire government. Change is needed to bring about a whole government effort that will deliver results in Afghanistan. As the Conservative Party’s Green Paper on International Development emphasises, we need a step change in the UK’s civil-military development capabilities.
“Our Security and Defence Review, which will consider strategic defence and security policies in the light of the resources available, will examine the most appropriate funding mechanism for the Stabilisation and Reconstruction Force. This could include drawing on the existing £269 million Stabilisation Fund and funding from the international aid budget, consistent with the OECD rules on the classification of overseas aid, and in accordance with existing practice.”