There has been nothing but praise at Westminster for the magnificent work of our armed forces in Afghanistan and I have been lucky to meet some of our local soldiers who have served, but all year we have been receiving gloomy reports from well respected Generals, Think tanks and those returning from visits. It is not that we are losing the War, but there is a feeling that we need our troops to have better equipment, better support from our NATO allies and that reconstruction and relief work needs to take place more quickly after tactical military victories so that local people see some benefit on the ground. There is also concern that more needs to be done to encourage Pashtun tribal leaders to take part in Government rather than aligning themselves with the Taleban.
I recently called a debate on this in the House – the link is in the speeches section. The USA is undergoing a major review of its efforts there ahead of the new Presidency and I intend to continue to press our Government to review its coordination of efforts between our military, relief and diplomatic efforts.
Indeed next Tuesday 11th November, I will be asking Question 9: What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for International Development on co-ordination of policies relating to Afghanistan.