Afghanistan

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th June 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth 12:00 am, 11th June 2018

What plans he has for additional UK force deployments to Afghanistan.

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

No decisions have been taken on sending additional UK troops to Afghanistan. The UK makes an important contribution to the non-combat NATO mission in Afghanistan, where our troop commitment is kept under regular review to ensure that it remains suited to the needs of the mission.

Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth

The Minister will be aware that, just today, 12 civilians, including women and children, have been killed in a suicide bombing attack outside a Ministry in Kabul. This is part of a string of attacks that have happened despite ceasefire efforts by President Ghani. Does the Minister agree that we very much need to protect the gains that we have made at the expense of blood and treasure in Afghanistan over many, many years, and will he consider looking at whether we need to provide more support to the Afghan security forces?

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The hon. Gentleman makes a very reasonable point. He will understand that, as I spent time in Afghanistan myself in 2006, this subject is very close to my heart. I am determined that we should not, as he says, lose that blood and treasure. Indeed, I raised that issue with Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, when I met him last Thursday. We will look at the matter very carefully to see what further support we can offer.

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Labour, Hammersmith

The Secretary of State made a welcome concession on the issue of Afghan interpreters, but it may be small comfort to those with constituency cases if, as reported, only 50 additional interpreters and their dependants will be allowed to come to the UK. Instead, will the Government look again at the whole process of assessing interpreters and at every case? There are some very deserving cases out there.

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The hon. Gentleman may be aware that I chair a joint committee with the House of Lords on this issue, where we do indeed go through that process very carefully. We pluck out individual cases on a quarterly basis and review them for that very reason.