Afghanistan: NATO Forces

Lord Sheikh asked Her Majesty’s Government:

    What measures they have taken to encourage other NATO countries, such as France and Germany, to deploy extra troops to Afghanistan.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My Lords, my right honourable friends the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary have spoken with their counterparts in France and Germany in recent weeks. These discussions included the need to ensure that commanders on the ground have access to the resources that they need to carry out ISAF’s mission. Military advice on force and capability requirements is provided by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. The issue was most recently discussed at the Foreign Ministers’ informal meeting in Oslo in April and by Defence Ministers in Brussels in June.

Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that response. I speak at meetings and seminars, and often the subject relates to foreign affairs. My Question was prompted by my feeling that our military capability is not in line with our present overseas commitments. The UK, the US and some other countries shoulder a disproportionate amount of the burden in Afghanistan and there seems to be little sign of other NATO countries providing more substantial troop movements.


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Noble Lords: Question!

Lord Sheikh: My Lords, have we examined carefully our deployment in Afghanistan and the need to increase the strength of our forces generally and provide them with adequate resources?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord’s concern is shared by many in this House. This is the third time that I have risen to discuss Afghanistan during my short tenure here. As the noble Lord knows, the UK is the second biggest troop contributor—second only to the United States—providing some 7,000 troops. However, we work continuously with our partners in ISAF to try to raise the deployment numbers of our allies in this endeavour.