FOREIGN AFFAIRS – BRIDGEHEAD AREA IN AFGHANISTAN – 14 June 2011

Dr Julian Lewis: Given that it is highly unusual to set a withdrawal date in the middle of a counter-insurgency campaign, has my right hon. Friend received any indication from the Americans that they are considering the retention of a long-term strategic base or bridgehead area in the region so that real pressure can be exerted on both sides to reach an appropriate settlement?

[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): The long-term relationship – after the insurgency and after the transition in 2014 – between the United States and Afghanistan is subject to negotiation at the moment between those countries, so it is not possible to give a precise answer to my hon. Friend now, but it is possible to say that such matters are under discussion.]