Letter to the Chair of the Committee from
Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury
and Minister for the Civil Service
Thank you for your letter of 8 December.
The National Security Council, which of course includes
the Foreign Secretary, keeps our force levels in Afghanistan under
regular review. It is absolutely right that we do so, to ensure
we have the right numbers deployedno more and no less.
No decisions on whether or not force levels will be reduced in
2011 have yet been takenas I said in Afghanistan and in
the House on 8 December, it is possible some reductions could
be made next year, but that would depend on developments on the
Since no decisions on changes next year to our force
lay down in Afghanistan have yet been taken, it would be unwise
of me to speculate further on what the nature of any changes might
The Lisbon Summit reached important conclusions about
the timetable for transition which will begin in early 2011 and
will meet President Karzai's objective for the Afghan National
Security Forces to lead and conduct security operations in all
provinces by the end of 2014. We therefore anticipate that as
the capability of the Afghan National Security Forces increases,
and the process of security transition is taken forward, the role
of the international troops in Afghanistan will over time focus
less on combat and more on training and mentoring the Afghan National
Army and Police.
As William said in the House, this is something I
also spoke about in Washington back in July.... I hope this helps.
18 December 2010
Letter to the Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury
and Minister for the Civil Service from the Chair of the Committee
Further to your response to my question today during
Prime Minister's Questions, and in light of comments you made
during your recent visit to Afghanistan, the Committee seeks clarification
on the Government's position in a number of respects, as detailed
1. When was the decision taken to consider the
drawdown of British troops in 2011, by whom and for what reasons?
What was the FCO's role in the process?
2. What will the military drawdown involve? Specifically,
how many troops could be involved and in what capacities? Into
which activities might British troops be "re-invested"?
3. Who will replace the British troops that are
withdrawn? Will it be Afghan or US forces?
It would be helpful if I could have a response to
these questions by Tuesday 14 December, before the Committee's
next meeting on 15 December.
In the light of the response to these questions,
the Committee will consider whether it wishes to request further
oral evidence from Ministers as part of its ongoing inquiry into
8 December 2010