FOREIGN AFFAIRS – STRATEGIC BASES IN AFGHANISTAN – 9 February 2012
Dr Julian Lewis: Unless western forces retain some strategic reserves in one or more strategic bases in Afghanistan after the end of 2014, the highly optimistic portrait that my right hon. Friend has painted will not long survive that date. Will he confirm that America, regardless of pre-election statements, is actively considering retaining some form of significant military presence in one or more strategic bases in Afghanistan?
[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): That is a matter to be concluded between the United States and Afghanistan. It is a pertinent question. The answer will depend on the definition that those countries together have for their future strategic partnership. Of course, the long-term presence of United States forces is a controversial subject in the region. The matter has not been settled. I stress to my hon. Friend the growing size and capability of the Afghan national security forces, which are building up to a total of 352,000. They are equipping themselves extremely well in the current conditions.]