Afghanistan's president says leaders expect to emerge from today's London conference with a 'clear agenda' for the next five years
British troops could remain in Afghanistan
for another 15 years, the country's president Hamid Karzai
In a BBC interview before the start of the London conference on the future of Afghanistan, Karzai said that although Afghan police and soldiers could be trained and equipped within five to 10 years, "sustaining" them would take longer.
Gordon Brown said that the number of troops and police officers would rise to 300,000 by 2011, and the number of British troops in the country could be gradually reduced.
But Karzai said: "With regard to training and equipping the Afghan security forces, five to 10 years would be sufficient. With regard to sustaining them … the time period extends to 10 to 15 years."
Brown and Karzai were speaking in a joint interview with the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, broadcast before they both made opening speeches at the start of the conference in Lancaster House, London, this morning.
Brown would not be drawn on a timetable, and said instead that British withdrawal depended on conditions in the country.