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Afghanistan: Military Involvement

Volume 699: debated on Monday 18 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What specific steps they have taken to avoid the involvement of British military forces in a lengthy campaign in Afghanistan. [HL1650]

We have always made it clear that there is no solely military solution to the problems faced by Afghanistan. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister's Statement of 12 December (Official Report, cols. 303-07) outlined our approach and identified the need for the rejuvenation of the Afghan economy. Thus a comprehensive UK approach in support of the Afghan Government involving the MoD, FCO and DfID is in place. Together with the wider international effort this has resulted in over 5.4 million children now attending school, a third of whom are girls, and a 60 per cent increase in the number of functioning health clinics. These improved conditions have led to 4.8 million refugees returning to the country.

The Afghanistan Compact, agreed between the Afghan Government and the International Community in February 2006, set out clear development benchmarks with timelines against which progress is measured. We are focusing considerable energy and resources into the Afghan National Army, who will ultimately become responsible for the country's security; this is now bearing encouraging results.