John Baron MP challenges Foreign Secretary on lessons from Afghanistan

September 9, 2014

MP cautions against mission creep in Iraq and Syria

Today in the House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, gave the Government’s latest quarterly statement on Afghanistan. British combat operations in Afghanistan are due to end on 31st December 2014.

In the House of Commons, John asked,

“Our mistake in Afghanistan was to allow a narrow mission focused on eliminating international terrorism to morph into a much broader project of nation-building, which we were unable to properly resource or sustain. What lessons does he draw from this experience, particularly as the Government contemplates military action in the Middle East?”

The Foreign Secretary replied that he believed much had been achieved in Afghanistan, and that he was alive to the dangers of ‘mission creep’.

John said afterwards,

“We should take care to learn the lessons of Afghanistan, where we allowed the mission to mutate into something greater than we could achieve. As a result, the Taliban are now poised to reverse many of our hard-won gains.”

“As we contemplate military action in Iraq and Syria, we would be wise to ensure any mission is tightly-defined, has clear objectives, and is achievable.”

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