DEFENCE – STRATEGIC BASES IN AFGHANISTAN – 26 April 2012

Dr Julian Lewis: Will the Secretary of State confirm that our American allies are seriously considering the retention of one or more strategic bases in Afghanistan after 2014 as the best way, and indeed probably the only way, of ensuring that the military gains and any political settlement do not unravel after that date?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): My hon. Friend will know that that has been widely reported as a US objective, but my understanding is that nothing has been agreed or finalised between the Afghans and the US on post-2014 lay-down at this stage.]