Supplementary written evidence from the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office |
1. What level of finance has the UK provided to
Pakistan for counter-terrorism support in the current, and preceding,
two financial years?
Counter-terrorism support for Pakistan is funded
as part of the FCO's global Counter Terrorism and Radicalisation
Programme Fund, which is £38 million in financial year 2010-11.
2. The Committee has received evidence that "the
FCO and others are increasingly prioritising funding for short-term
security activities, using Conflict Pool funds in Helmand at the
expense of longer-term conflict prevention projects which the
funds are intended for." (Oxfam GB). What is the Government's
response to this?
We do not know what Oxfam are referring to.
The FCO, through its contribution to the Conflict
Pool uses funds to help counter the insurgency and reduce and
ultimately prevent conflict in Helmand. Providing the people of
Helmand Province with security from intimidation and violence
is an absolutely critical element of counter-insurgency and long-term
The Conflict Pool fund has increased funding for
long-term security in Helmand from approximately £6 million
spend in 2008-09 to approximately £12 million scheduled spend
in the current financial year. Over the same period expenditure
on short-term security activities in Helmand has decreased steadily,
from approximately £2 million in 2008-09 to approximately
£600,000 committed spend this financial year.
Long-term security projects funded by the Conflict
Pool in Helmand include training the Afghan police in detective
and community policing techniques, upgrading police checkpoints,
building prison accommodation in Lashkar Gah that meets international
standards, and the Helmand Police Training Centre.
3. The FCO's written evidence states that, "since
Transition is conditions based, timelines cannot be made and it
is important that transition planning does not interfere with
the primary task of providing security to the Afghan people"
(para 44). How can this quote be squared with the Foreign Secretary's
statement when giving evidence to the Committee that the 2015
deadline was fixed and not based on conditions?
In 2009 President Karzai set an objective that transition
of the security lead across the country should be completed by
the end of 2014. The NATO/ISAF Lisbon Summit in November 2010
endorsed this objective. The Lisbon Declaration said "The
process of transition to full Afghan security responsibility and
leadership in some provinces and districts is on track to begin
in early 2011, following a joint Afghan and NATO/ISAF assessment
and decision. Transition will be conditions-based, not calendar-driven,
and will not equate to withdrawal of ISAF-troops. Looking to the
end of 2014, Afghan forces will be assuming full responsibility
for security across the whole of Afghanistan
means that identifying individual priorities and districts for
transition to ANSF lead will be conditions-based and ISAF and
the Afghan authorities have established mechanisms for this process.
The process is intended to be completed by 2014. The Government
has made clear UK forces will be out of combat by 2015. The latest
ISAF assessments are that the 2014 objective is achievable.
4. The FCO's written evidence states that it is
not foreseen that the UK will provide any combat forces in Afghanistan
beyond 2014 (para 19). Does this mean that all British combat
troops will be withdrawn by the end of 2014? How can this be squared
with other government statements which say the date for withdrawing
combat troops will take place on an as yet undetermined date in
The FCO memorandum should have read 2015, quoting
the Prime Minister's statement on 7 July 2010.
We apologise for this inadvertent error. The Lisbon Summit declaration
looks forward to Transition being completed by 2014; the Government,
in setting its timetable, has allowed a further period. The Prime
Minister has made clear we will not be in Afghanistan in a combat
role beyond 2015. It is too early to say what exactly the drawdown
pattern will be up to this period.
5. How many Kabul / Lashkar Gah-based FCO diplomats
have had local language training and to what level? How many speak
Pashto or Dari fluently?
Currently there are two Dari speaker slots filled
in Kabul. There is another officer based in Southern Afghanistan
who speaks both Dari and Pashto. Six members of FCO staff have
completed language training in the last five years, of which three
completed language training to extensive or operational level.
23 staff who have completed language training in Dari or Farsi
have been posted to Afghanistan (19 Dari students and 4 Farsi
students). Dari and Farsi are two forms of the Persian language
and officers conversant in one form of Persian can easily adapt
to the other.
As the Foreign Secretary made clear during the recent
evidence session, improving language skills is a high priority
for the FCO. The Afghan languages are among the key languages
that we will be investing in further over the forthcoming CSR
period to increase our capacity from the current base.
31 January 2011
126 HC Deb, 7 July 2010, col 367 Back