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Afghanistan: Reconstruction and State-building Contracts

Volume 703: debated on Monday 15 November 2021

4. If he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the private companies contracted by his Department for (a) reconstruction and (b) state-building during the UK’s involvement in Afghanistan. (904125)

The Ministry of Defence did not contract private companies to undertake state-building as part of UK military operations in Afghanistan. Reconstruction activity could take many forms and could be commissioned in many ways, both from within the MOD and from elsewhere in Government. Does the hon. Gentleman have a particular company in mind?

The Foreign Office tells me it has spent £54 million with a company called Adam Smith International, but it will not tell me on what the money was spent. Can the Minister assure me that he will provide details of any contracts his Department has with Adam Smith International with regard to Afghanistan? There has clearly been a failure of nation-building in Afghanistan, and this Parliament needs to consider whether that failure is related to the organisations that were chosen to implement Government policy and the programmes they developed on the ground. May I ask for further assurance that the cloak of national security will not be used to withhold information?

As I said, the Ministry of Defence did not contract with companies to undertake state-building activity. I will clarify whether Adam Smith International had any role in anything we might count as reconstruction. The hon. Gentleman mentioned the Foreign Office, and his question might be better addressed to colleagues there.