To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 8 September 2003, ref. 128526, on Afghanistan, if he will make a statement on (a) the strategic importance of the Afghan National Army in promoting stability in Afghanistan and (b) the development of the Afghan National Army. 
The Bonn Agreement of 5 December 2001 acknowledges that responsibility for security in Afghanistan lies with the Afghans themselves, but seeks international assistance in establishing and training new security forces. The creation of an effective and representative Afghan National Army is therefore an essential component in ensuring the future security and stability of Afghanistan. Development of the Afghan National Army continues.