UK troops in Afghanistan form part of The NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). They are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected Afghan Government and with UN authorisation, to provide the secure environment necessary for reconstruction and development to take place.
The security situation around the country is broadly stable. Neither Taliban nor other illegal armed groups pose a credible threat to the democratically elected Afghan Government. But the stakes are high for control of the south, which is why the Taliban continue to fight.
The Afghan Security Forces are increasingly contributing to securing their own country, although much more needs to be done to help them achieve this. The Afghan National Army (ANA) has been reformed: it is now more professional, accountable and ethnically balanced. Approximately 30,000 ANA soldiers and close to 50,000 Afghan National Police officers have been recruited, trained and equipped. Work is underway to ensure greater co-ordination of the army and police, with the development of command centres at provincial and regional levels.
With increased security, over 4.6 million refugees have returned to their homes and form an essential part of the reconstruction process.