John Baron MP presses Defence Secretary on lessons from Afghanistan

November 27, 2014

MP says any future interventions must be informed by Afghan experience

Today in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, made a statement on Afghanistan. This came following the withdrawal of British combat troops from the country, as well as after a terrorist attack on a British Embassy convoy in Kabul this morning.

In the Chamber, John asked,

“Most of us agreed with the initial deployment to rid Afghanistan of al-Qaeda, but what we tend to forget is that objective was reached within a couple of years. I suggest the mistake we made is that we allowed the mission to morph into the much bigger one of nation-building, which we did not properly resource. Given that the Defence Secretary has admitted the Taliban remain a potent force, what lessons does he take for the future?”

The Secretary of State replied that a key lesson is that working with local forces is essential, and that economic and political efforts are as important as military force.

Afterwards, John said,

“The morphing of the mission from anti-terrorism to nation-building lies at the heart of the problems with the Afghan intervention. Defeating al-Qaeda was a narrow and achievable objective, whereas recasting a nation was a vastly more ambitious aim and one we did not even adequately resource.”

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