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Volume 712: debated on Monday 20 July 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last evaluated the level of resources for development and military operations in Afghanistan and the balance between them; what the outcome of that review was; and what action they will take. [HL4797]

On 29 April 2009, (Official Report, Commons, col. 871), the Prime Minister announced the way forward for UK policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Prime Minister sets out the balance between the UK’s political, development and military activities in support of the international community’s effort to tackle the insurgency and create an effective and accountable state in Afghanistan. The level of resources required to support the UK’s engagement in Afghanistan is reviewed regularly.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost-effectiveness of their funding of the Bolan Park for women in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan. [HL4959]

The Bolan Park was built in Bolan, Lashkar Gah, in 2007 at the request of the governor of Helmand and in response to an identified local need: it functions as a symbol for security and development in the area. The park is providing much needed recreational space and facilities for the people of Lashkar Gar and the surrounding area, in particular women and children. One of the first major events hosted at the park was a US-funded agricultural fair to promote legal livelihoods, attended by 1,700 Afghans. The park was also used for a successful cultural event organised by the Helmand governor, which attracted more than 2,000 local people.

The UK provided funding for the park through the provincial reconstruction team. This park is open to men, women and children with one day each week being set aside for women's exclusive use. The park cost around £420,000 and was built alongside the Helmand river. The costs of the park reflect the fact that during construction gabion walls were put in place to support the river bank, which helps prevent erosion, and to support the Bolan bridge. In addition, the park has extensive lighting which is important for improving security at night.