Speaking in Parliament on Monday 17 September Mike Gapes expressed concern about the prospects for Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal of ISAF combat forces in 2014 


Afghanistan (Force Protection)


Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): The Secretary of State referred to the need to hold the ground after the combat role has ended. Is he really confident that the Afghan national forces will be able to hold the ground in the Pashtun-populated areas, including Helmand, once we have left?

Mr Hammond: The indications are that the Afghan strategic plan is to hold the ground in the crucial areas—the major towns, the major routes of communication and the major economic areas, including the Helmand valley. The assessment of our military commanders on the ground—I have no better information than that—is that they are likely to be able to do so, with some compromises at the margins.



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