BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhuanet) -- In Kabul, visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the UK will no longer have troops in a combat role in Afghanistan after 2014. He said this at a press conference in the Afghan capital on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, as the US troop draw-down in Afghanistan nears, pressure is mounting on the Afghan government to find a mediated peace with the Taliban to the nearly decade-long war.
He said, "We are friends of Afghanistan for the long-term. We have said very clearly that after the transition in 2014 - that means by 2015 - we will not have troops here in a combat role or in anything like their present numbers. But we will be friends for the long-term with our expertise, with our economic cooperation and development aid, and it is of course important to plan ahead for those things now.
It is possible to say that contacts do take place, that an Afghan-led reconciliation process is the way forward, and that all such contacts are in support of such a process, that the United Kingdom will assist in that when it can."
Special Report: Afghanistan Situation