First, that a new Afghan government demonstrates its commitment to bring forward the Afghan troops to be trained and to fight alongside our forces – and I talked yesterday to President Karzai and Dr Abdullah and received assurances that this will happen.
Second, that as before every soldier and unit deployed to Afghanistan is fully equipped for the operations they are asked to undertake.
Third, that our commitment is part of an agreed approach across the international coalition, with all countries bearing their fair share.
The combination of force levels, equipment levels and tasks I am setting out today follows the clear military advice from the Chiefs of Staff and our commanders on the ground: on implementing our strategy; and on reducing the risk to our forces. And it is on this basis that I have agreed in principle to a new British force level of 9,500, which will be put into effect once these conditions are met…
So the right strategy is the one that finishes the job – by giving the Afghans the tools to take over.
Mr Speaker, a safer Afghanistan is a safer Britain.
A stronger Pakistan is a safer Britain.
We must never again let the territory of this region, or any region, become a base for terror on the underground, the streets, the cities and airports of Britain. We must not permit it. We will not permit it.
We have the right strategy, and we will see it through. (photo: UK Crown)