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As regards the specialists, we will now have a specialist team, independently scrutinising these issues, which we believe will add value to what is already done. It will not diminish what is being done, because we hope that that will be maintained, but in addition there will be a greater degree of expertise and acuity from the other professionals conducting the joint inspections.

A number of reports, not least from Andrew Bridges, the Chief Inspector of Probation, have outlined graphically how they see the added value. We believe that as a result of the joined-up working, we will be able to get not only what we have now, but the added value of a joined-up inspection. For those reasons, I invite the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, not to press his amendment. Hell will doubtless freeze over first.

Lord Ramsbotham: My Lords, I thank noble Lords from all sides of the House who have spoken with such power and clarity and—dare I say it?—unanimity on this issue. I also thank the Minister for the care with which she has listened to what has been said and for the habitual courtesy with which she has responded. But she has not persuaded me by what she has said, and I wish to test the opinion of the House.

7.24 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 87) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 211; Not-Contents, 98.

Division No. 2


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Armstrong of Ilminster, L.
Arran, E.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Bell, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blood, B.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Borrie, L.
Bowness, L.
Brennan, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruce-Lockhart, L.
Burnett, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chidgey, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Condon, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cotter, L.
Courtown, E.
Coventry, Bp.
Cox, B.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dear, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dubs, L.
Dykes, L.
Eccles, V.
Eccles of Moulton, B.

10 Oct 2006 : Column 186

Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Feldman, L.
Fellowes, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Freeman, L.
Freyberg, L.
Garden, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Glasgow, E.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goodlad, L.
Grabiner, L.
Greenway, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Higgins, L.
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Inglewood, L.
James of Blackheath, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jopling, L.
Judd, L.
Kalms, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkham, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laidlaw, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lewis of Newnham, L.
Lindsay, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lloyd of Berwick, L.
Low of Dalston, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mawhinney, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Montrose, D.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Murphy, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbourne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Quin, B.
Ramsbotham, L. [Teller]
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Saatchi, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheikh, L.
Shephard of Northwold, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stern, B.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Tebbit, L.
Tenby, V.
Teverson, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Tonge, B.
Tordoff, L.
Tyler, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Verma, B.
Waddington, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Warnock, B.

10 Oct 2006 : Column 187

Watson of Richmond, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Windlesham, L.
Worcester, Bp.
Young of Hornsey, B.


Adams of Craigielea, B.
Adonis, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Bilston, L.
Boyd of Duncansby, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Crawley, B.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Donoughue, L.
Drayson, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Filkin, L.
Ford, B.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Leitch, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Maxton, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prosser, B.
Radice, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Soley, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitty, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

7.36 pm

[Amendments Nos. 88 and 89 not moved.]

Clause 29 [Duties of Chief Inspector with regard to prisons etc]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 90:

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in the light of the outcome of the Division, I think it would be right for me to advise the House that I shall not now move the government amendments in this group: Amendments Nos. 90, 93 and 97.

10 Oct 2006 : Column 188

[Amendment No. 90 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 91 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Lord Ramsbotham moved Amendment No. 92:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 93 not moved.]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned. In moving the Motion, I suggest that the Report stage begin again not before 8.37 pm.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.


7.38 pm

Lord Garden rose to ask Her Majesty’s Government what further assistance they are providing for the reconstruction and security of Afghanistan.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Question was originally tabled in the name of my noble friend Lady Northover. I much regret that, because of family illness, she is not here to open this debate.

We have supported the agenda for Afghanistan set out by Jack Straw some five years ago. It was clear that the international community had failed the country at the end of the Cold War and that we had to change it from the haven for terrorism that it had become. This required the international community working together on reconstruction and economic development which, in turn, required political reform and adequate security for the rule of law.

During the past five years, progress has been made—I am sure that the Minister will tell us about that progress—but it has been much slower than it should have been. That is because the main players moved resources to the foolish adventures in Iraq. The trends are now not as positive as we might wish. Non-governmental organisations are reporting that deteriorating security in many formerly peaceful provinces has resulted in a disabling environment for development. Although there is visible economic activity and improvement of infrastructure in many parts of the country, persistent unemployment and high levels of corruption are increasingly problematic. I shall focus primarily on the new developments this year, and ask the Minister several questions about the effect of the changes on overall progress and what the British Government intend to do about them. Unlike in Iraq, we have benchmarks against which to measure progress. The Afghanistan compact was drawn up in London in January, and gives us those benchmarks for a range of issues, including security, drugs, gender equality, and social and economic development.

Although formulated only nine months ago, these benchmarks now seem overly optimistic. For example, all illegal armed groups will be disarmed by

10 Oct 2006 : Column 189

the end of 2007 in all provinces. Does the Minister believe that this is still achievable? By the end of 2010, there will be in place effective measures that contribute to the elimination of poppy cultivation. After this year, which showed a 60 per cent rise in the total poppy harvest, where are the UK priorities now? By the end of 2010, the national action plan for women in Afghanistan will have been fully implemented, and female participation in all Afghan governance institutions will be strengthened, so the compact says. Does the Minister agree that the extension of education to girls—one of the major achievements since 2001—is now being threatened by the widespread closure of schools in the south? What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to help to provide safe access to education for girls in Afghanistan and protection for female government employees working in high-risk areas?

The United Nations and the Afghan Government launched a drought appeal in July. Why has the United Kingdom not committed any funds to the appeal so far? In all this, the security strategy is key. As we heard earlier this afternoon, NATO has taken responsibility for the whole of Afghanistan. The recent fighting in the south, including Operation Medusa in Kandahar province, has had a major impact on civilians. The Afghan Government have reported that 4,000 families in Helmand and 2,500 families in Kandahar have been displaced as a result of this ongoing conflict. Will the Minister tell us what assessment the British Government have made of the humanitarian effects of the fighting in the south?

For five years, the United States has led the coalition under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom, which has been pounding the south and the east in a failed attempt to find Osama bin Laden. No significant reconstruction work has been done there, and the Taliban has grown experienced and more confident. Nor, even after five years, do we seem to have much of an intelligence picture of the operational theatre, given the mis-assessment of the past three months. Until today, I have not joined in the criticism about a confused strategy. While NATO and Operation Enduring Freedom had separate geographical areas of responsibility, the strategy was perhaps manageable, if unusual. As I indicated earlier today in our debate on the Statement on Iraq and Afghanistan, I am seriously concerned. NATO is responsible for the whole of Afghanistan through the ISAF mission. Meanwhile, 8,000 troops under American control will operate under Operation Enduring Freedom, and the US-controlled air power will not be transferred to NATO. Was there ever a military operation like this before, with two major forces with overlapping remits operating in the same areas? In February, when the United States takes command of NATO forces, which agenda will have priority? This is of real concern to NGOs operating in the field. They have found it very difficult to near impossible to work in a theatre where offensive air power is the weapon of choice.

But this is not the only turf war. Did the Minister read Christina Lamb’s report from Afghanistan in the latest edition of the Sunday Times, in which she said that a DfID representative speaking about

10 Oct 2006 : Column 190

reconstruction work in Helmand province could cite only the rebuilding of market stalls in two districts? She went on to report that the British military wanted DfID to hand over some of its funds to enable them to carry out work. Her article claims that the military are locked in a debate with DfID over the strategy for the £20 million available to spend in Helmand. DfID wants long-term projects, and the military want to get jobs to Afghans now. Indeed, the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Drayson, this afternoon seemed to reinforce this view of some difference between the military and the development strategy.

The Sunday Times article quoted the NATO commander Lieutenant-General David Richards as saying:

When we talk to the NGOs, however, they are critical of the funds going to military aspects compared with the money available for development work. Does the Minister agree that the Ministry of Defence, DfID and the NGOs must have a common purpose? Where does the Foreign Office stand in these disputes? Does it favour the quick-fix approach offered by the military, or the long-term sustainable development approach for which the development agencies are arguing? Are the British Government providing sufficient resources to do both? Both are obviously important.

We on these Benches have no doubt that the future of Afghanistan is vital to the long-term security of United Kingdom citizens, as well as the greater aim of providing security for the people of Afghanistan. It is already a difficult task; it will become an impossible one if the United States and NATO operate different military strategies at the same time in the same place, and if the military and the aid agencies are in dispute. Will the Minister give us some assurance that these tensions are being addressed?

7.47 pm

Lord Brennan: My Lords, I commend the Government’s programme for Afghanistan, but I recommend that they pursue that programme, first, with a considered and flexible strategy, secondly with caution, and thirdly with the opportunity for regular review. Above all, the Government must strive to avoid a significant gap being created between their political aspirations and the capacity to execute those aspirations with the military or in the development field, both of which are inextricably linked. I take this cautious view because historically Afghanistan is a complex and difficult geopolitical arena militarily. It survived 20 Russian divisions and saw the rise and fall of the Taliban in bloody circumstances. There is a Pashtun revival and a porous border with Pakistan, so history suggests the caution that I have recommended. With regard to aid, it is a misuse of words to speak of reconstruction in Afghanistan. Rather, it is a process of construction. That means time, money and long-term effort and commitment. The question is whether it will work for development.

10 Oct 2006 : Column 191

Militarily and in the field of development, this country should determine what is best for that country and what is within our reasonable capacity to help it to achieve that. That means considering both the short-term and the long-term strategy. As of 5 October, NATO has taken military command of the military situation in Afghanistan under the leadership of Lieutenant-General Richards. Military men in his position are careful in their choice of words. Earlier this week, he said that we were at a tipping point and had six months in which to achieve a significant change so that the people are with us and are not driven against us. That is a very tight and very tough timetable within which to achieve his declared objective of having the people come on the side of NATO and the Afghan Government. So what is the short-term strategy?

Secondly, I turn to the long term. History demands that if you enter Afghanistan to seek to change it you thereby commit yourself to a process of a number of years. That commitment I understand to have been made by this country and its partners in NATO. They must fulfil that commitment; that is, all of them, not just us. NATO is with us and its member countries acting as a group of common partners with shared objectives, which means that you have to commit yourself to the responsibility of supply and potential damage to your troops. At the moment, the relationship of combat troops to the rest in NATO is wholly out of proportion. How can NATO, therefore, be seen to make that change unless there is more commitment?

Thirdly, do we have enough strategic assets as a NATO force, not just British helicopters for British troops? What is our alternative strategy if it is not to be NATO, as the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Boyce, raised this afternoon? Finally, since 2001 we have contributed £390 million to that country through DfID in aid. It is our fifth largest target for donations and we are the second largest aid provider. Have we carried out a results-based analysis? Is it going the right way? These are very large sums of money to direct to Afghanistan. I regret to mention the introduction of the Promulgation of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice Committee. The title bemuses us, but what does it mean for women in Afghanistan if we are spending this kind of money? I close positively. We as a Government are giving leadership, which means responsibility by us to lead others in the objectives that we have declared.

7.52 pm

Baroness D'Souza: My Lords, I thank, first, the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, albeit in her absence, for having instituted this debate; secondly, the noble Lord, Lord Garden, for introducing it; and, thirdly, the Government for having made a substantial commitment over the years to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Long may that continue. However, Afghanistan remains a fragile state—not, thankfully, as fragile as it was, but nevertheless certainly not stable.

I want to look briefly at the logic of the multilateral aid programme and to question the

10 Oct 2006 : Column 192

decisions by major donors to channel millions of dollars of aid largely through the Afghan Government to the detriment of indigenous and other NGOs, many of which have been working in Afghanistan for many years. The UK Government draw a distinction between the US search and destroy mission and the UK’s mission which is,

The aim of the donor community as laid out in the Bonn process and underlined again at the London conference earlier this year was and is to build capacity in all sectors in Afghanistan. Last January, donors launched the Afghanistan compact, part of which was concerned with ensuring that aid be allocated almost exclusively through the various Afghan ministries. This has led to a somewhat two-headed approach of conforming with President Karzai’s wishes, but at the same time undermining the development goals of the Karzai and Blair governments. The Department for International Development now channels something like 70 per cent of aid via the government, with the concomitant decrease in funds available for those NGOs working at local levels. That of course allows for a measure of accountability, but in recent months it has become more obvious that the government simply do not have the capacity to spend aid money on agreed infrastructure and other projects. Recent estimates suggest that perhaps only 10 per cent of available aid money has been spent.

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