Business of the House
Martin Horwood (Cheltenham, Liberal Democrat)
My noble Friend Lord Ashdown has written a highly critical account in the The Times this week of the international community’s record in Afghanistan over more than a decade. He concluded, with typical military bluntness, that only the poor bloody infantry, with all their courage and determination, can expect to march out of Afghanistan with their heads held high. Although I do not expect the Foreign Secretary to endorse that statement precisely, does he agree with my noble Friend that alongside the political process, it is critical that we leave behind an Afghan army that is robust, professional and non-political? Does he agree that that, and not the attempted eradication of the Taliban, is the key security objective from now on?