MP’s concerns over Afghanistan future

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SHEFFIELD MP Nick Clegg has spoken of his concerns over Afghanistan ahead of a planned handover from Nato troops to local forces.

The Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister was answering Labour’s Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, who said if anything the political and social situation in the country had worsened.

Mr Clegg said military intervention alone would never resolve Afghanistan’s problems and urged neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, to help stabilise the country.

It came on the day that Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the commitment to the withdrawal of British troops from combat by 2014 and urged insurgents to stop fighting and start talking.

Mr Jarvis said: “Can I ask you how is the plan to support the Afghan government after 2014 going to have the slightest prospect of success without real progress on problems of politics and governance which by almost all reports have got worse, not better, in recent years?”

Mr Clegg replied: “You make a very serious point.

“Anybody who has visited Afghanistan or examined the conflict there will know that there was never any prospect of a military solution alone.

“All, in a sense, a military intervention can do is create the space in which social and political stability can take root. I share your concern we are still some way from that.

“I think it is immensely important...we include other neighbours in the region, notably Pakistan, to play their full part.”