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G8 Global Partnership

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information the Government has collated on the numbers of (a) physical attacks against women and (b) politically motivated physical attacks (i) this year and (ii) last year in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [117913]

The Government do not collate figures on the numbers of physical attacks against women, or politically motivated physical attacks, in Afghanistan. Nor have we been able to find comprehensive figures collated by other agencies or organisations. We are, however, aware of a number of incidents, including attacks on girls' schools in Afghanistan. We are also aware of a number of politically motivated attacks, including in the run up to the Emergency Loya Jirga in June 2002. We condemn all such attacks.Security is essential to improve the quality of life for all Afghans. The UK is committed to assisting the Afghan Government to improve security throughout the country. We have pledged £52 million over three years towards security sector reform, including building a national police force. On 8 May the Secretary of State for Defence announced to Parliament that the UK will deploy a Civil-Military Provincial Reconstruction Team to Mazar-e-Sharif in July. This should help to improve security in north-western Afghanistan, and thereby facilitate security sector reform and reconstruction. We hope it will also facilitate an improvement in the human rights environment.