18 August 2021
Afghanistan Debate

Andrew Bridgen calls on the Prime Minister to share UK intelligence services assessments of the relative fighting capacity of the Afghan army and the Taliban and asks about UK representations to the US on the timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con)

Will the Prime Minister share with the House what assessment UK intelligence services made of the relative fighting capacity currently of the Afghan army and the Taliban, and will he tell us what representations the UK Government made to our US allies with regards to their timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?

The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) 

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He asks for a commentary on the respective military potential for power of the Taliban and the Afghan forces. It is pretty clear from what has happened that the collapse of the Afghan forces has been much faster than expected. As for our NATO allies and allies around the world, when it came for us to look at the options that this country might have in view of the American decision to withdraw, we came up against this hard reality that since 2009, America has deployed 98% of all weapons released from NATO aircraft in Afghanistan and, at the peak of the operation, when there were 132,000 troops on the ground, 90,000 of them were American. The west could not continue this US-led mission—a mission conceived and executed in support and defence of America—without American logistics, without US air power and without American might.