asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their assessment of the significance of the current situation in Afghanistan in their action against Al'Qaeda; and in this context, what are they now doing, together with their allies, to limit the power of the warlords and to increase aid and assistance for civil reconstruction.
As a result of our efforts with the US and others in Afghanistan, that country is no longer a safe haven for Al'Qaeda (AQ). It is not always easy to distinguish AQ elements from other groups hostile to the current political process in Afghanistan. Extremists are undoubtedly attempting to establish bases there from which to operate, but successful military operations conducted by the coalition and units of the Afghan national army (ANA) are preventing them doing so. AQ operations worldwide have suffered disruption. AQ leadership is dispersed and operating under increasingly difficult conditions. Many key operatives and planners have been detained.
The US-led coalition and NATO have now deployed a total of 12 provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) to help to extend the authority of central government at the expense of regional power-holders. The UK-led PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif helped to broker a ceasefire between two regional commanders in October 2003 and more recently played a key role in preventing factional unrest developing in Faryab Province, where a second UK-led PRT is now being established. The new PRT is already working with ANA and Afghan national police units sent to the area by President Karzai. PRTs have had a demonstrably beneficial effect on security in the areas they cover and this in turn helps to facilitate reconstruction.