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Afghanistan

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his latest assessment is of the armed forces' performance against their military objectives in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (257892)

UK and other ISAF troops are making tangible progress in Afghanistan. In Helmand, all the major towns are now under the Government of Afghanistan's control and the insurgents can no longer rest easy in their traditional heartlands. But Afghanistan's problems cannot be solved by military means alone and nor will they be solved quickly. Significant security challenges remain and we are working with the Afghan Government also to improve governance, economic development and the rule of law.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent assessment of the strength and capabilities of the (a) Afghan national army and (b) Afghan national police is. (253714)

Good progress has been made with the Afghan national army (ANA). The ANA is 78,000 strong and in 2008 they led in 60 per cent. of the operations in which they participated.

There are now some 82,000 Afghan police (ANP). Through the US and EU-led programmes ANP capacity has improved.

We will continue to work closely with the government of Afghanistan and the international community to build the capacity of the Afghan national army and police.