• UK parliamentary committee: Engage in Afghanistan’s future

UK parliamentary committee: Engage in Afghanistan’s future

10 April 2013

A British parliamentary committee says the UK must show the Afghan people that it abides by its commitment to support them after international forces withdraw in 2014.

In a new report, “Securing the Future of Afghanistan,” the Defence Select Committee calls for measures to be put in place to help establish a “peaceful and functioning” nation.

The report said, “We have received starkly opposing evidence and narratives of future scenarios following the withdrawal of combat forces, from those which are overly optimistic to those which see only doom and gloom.”

“The fact is that the UK will have limited influence and, indeed, it is for the Afghan people themselves to determine their future.”

However, it adds, “the UK and its international partners must show the Afghan people that they will abide by their obligations to continue to support them in their efforts.”

This, it said, included the area of women’s rights, “which, at the start of the conflict, the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, described as ‘non negotiable’.”

The Committee said it was calling for:

  • at least the start of an Afghan-led peace settlement, supported by neighbours such as Pakistan
  • open and free elections
  • appropriately trained and equipped Afghan National Security Forces with continuing financial support
  • a strong judicial system which protects human rights
  • continuing economic development aid  
  • effective measures to tackle corruption and the drug trade

The report added that it had heard very little from either the British Ministry of Defence or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about how they planned to be involved in Afghanistan after 2014. 

The Committee called on the British Government to set out how it sees its future role in the country.

Photo courtesy of Alistair Paton