A proposal to expand the Afghan security forces to around 300,000 by mid-2011 has been approved by an Afghan-UN body as part of an objective to create a security force of around 400,000 in the region.

The Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) formed by the Afghan Government and the international community has decided to present the proposal at a major conference in London in February 2010.

Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhailwal said the defence and interior ministry proposals for both the army and the police had been approved.

“The defence ministry’s proposal was that their troops must reach the strength of 172,000 by mid next year,” he said.

“Now they have more than 100,000 troops. The number of police must reach 134,000 by mid next year.

Both proposals were approved and they will be put forward in London next month.

In November 2009 Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said that the goal was to eventually increase forces to 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police.

This would also be proposed in London on 28 January 2010 when the governments meet to discuss Afghanistan, according to Zakhailwal.

At present, there are 97,000 police in Afghanistan and about 113,000 foreign troops under NATO and US command helping the Afghan forces fight Taliban insurgency.