Dr Julian Lewis: I hope we are not so naive as to believe that the Taliban will stick to any peace deal unless they recognise adverse consequences for breaking it. So will the Government take steps, in conjunction with the US and other NATO allies, to find a new strategy, possibly based on a strategic base in the region, to deter the Taliban and protect Afghanistan from a total Islamist takeover after our land forces have totally been withdrawn?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Ben Wallace): My right hon. Friend makes a very pertinent point and a very real suggestion. The US, in that peace agreement, chose not to make it conditions-based at the end. That was a regret for most of the NATO allies, as we thought that that was important. However, a lot of people have lost their lives in that conflict and sacrificed a lot, and I do not intend that to be for nothing. As I said, we will explore all options that we can to make sure that we protect not only Britain’s interests and citizens, but her allies.
We are also protected by international law in doing what we need to do to defend ourselves if a threat emanates from that country or any other around the globe, and we have the capabilities to do that. Allies will continue to talk, and our support for and funding to the Afghan Government will continue to at least 2024. The one thing I would say to the Taliban is that they will remember what happened the last time they played host to al-Qaeda.]