Afghanistan (Force Protection)
Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government
Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
I am not sure I agree with the last part of my hon. Friend’s analysis. Building the capacity of the Afghan state is and has been an important part of winning the overall battle. Afghans in Helmand in particular are now enjoying substantially better health, education and transport services, and access to justice, than they enjoyed a couple of years ago. There is lots of evidence to show that that reinforces their tendency to support the Government and diminishes their tendency to support the insurgency. It is clear to me that building the capacity of the Afghan Government is an important part of the overall equation, but our forces are there to protect our national security. That is their principal task and the basis on which we should judge the wisdom of their engagement.