New Inquiry: Securing the Future of Afghanistan

18 June 2012

The Defence Committee is today announcing its latest inquiry into Afghanistan. The inquiry will examine progress towards a secure and stable Afghanistan within the wider region, including Pakistan, and the plans by the UK, NATO and other allies for a smooth transition of responsibility for security to the Afghan Government and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF)

NATO Forces, including UK Armed Forces, have been in Afghanistan since October 2001. In May 2006, the Government deployed UK Forces to Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan as part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The coalition led by the USA adopted a new approach in late 2009 based on the counter-insurgency strategy recommended by General McChrystal. Following this development, UK Forces were reinforced in Helmand by troops from the USA. 

At the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, those nations contributing to ISAF and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan decided on a transition of security responsibility from ISAF to the ANSF to enable Afghanistan to take full responsibility for its own security. They also decided that NATO Forces would be out of combat roles by the end of 2014. In May 2012, the NATO Chicago Summit confirmed these two intentions and stated NATO would continue to support the Afghan Government in a new training, advising and assistance mission after 2014.   

The Committee is particularly interested in:

  • progress towards a political settlement including plans for the UK’s continued involvement in Afghanistan after 2014 and that of NATO and other allies including the long-term funding and other continued support of Afghanistan;
  • progress towards a secure Afghanistan including the arrangements for the transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan National Security Forces and how well the transfer has worked in those areas where it has already taken place;
    the effectiveness of the training of the Afghan National Security Forces and the sustainability of the Forces;
    progress in military operations in Helmand and the support for operations; and
  • planning for the phased withdrawal of combat troops to the end of 2014 and the role of any Armed Forces personnel remaining after 2014, and the support for them.
    The Committee expects to take oral evidence on Afghanistan during the remainder of 2012. The Committee would welcome written evidence to this inquiry which should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Friday 13 July 2012.

Submission of written evidence should:


  • If possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format by e-mail to  If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details. If you have any queries on the submission of evidence contact Karen Jackson, Audit Adviser, tel: 0207 219 6168, email:
  • Begin with a one page summary if it is longer than six pages
  • Have numbered paragraphs
  • Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.

Submissions can also be sent by post to Defence Committee, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Individuals and organisations interested in submitting written evidence to the Committee may find the Commons: Guide for Witnesses particularly useful.

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. If a number of published documents are sent to accompany written evidence, these should be listed in the covering email.
  • Written evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organization submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Image: PA

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