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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Sep 10. Defence Committee. NEW INQUIRY: ENSURING SUCCESS IN AFGHANISTAN: THE ROLE OF THE UK ARMED FORCES. On 28 July, the Defence Committee announced two major inquiries into Afghanistan. The first inquiry is focusing on operations in Afghanistan. Mindful that for the operational mission to be successful there needs to be a political settlement, the Committee is today launching a second inquiry. This will look at how and when a political settlement might be reached, what such a settlement might look like, and what role UK Armed Forces are likely to play before, during and after such a settlement. This new inquiry will build on our inquiry into the UK Armed Forces operational mission in Afghanistan. In recent months there has been considerable discussion regarding the timetable for the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and UK combat forces from Afghanistan. The UK and US Governments have stated that their combat forces could start to leave as early as 2011 with a possible target date for completion of 2014/15. Concern has been expressed at the possible consequences of such an early withdrawal, particularly given the large number of players involved and the complexity of Afghan society. The Committee will examine how these issues may impact on the ability to withdraw forces and move towards a political settlement. The Committee is particularly interested in:
*the basis of a potential settlement in Afghanistan;
*with whom within the international community the UK should work to achieve a settlement;
*the role of UK Armed Forces in helping deliver a settlement and their role thereafter in assisting the Afghan Government in such areas as training;
*the role of the UK’s new National Security Council in relation to a political settlement in Afghanistan and how will it determine the robustness of any settlement for UK security, including the impact on UK Armed Forces;
*the potential impact on MoD resources of continued deployment after a settlement;
*the ability and capacity of the UK Government to communicate the role of the UK and its Armed Forces in Afghanistan to the UK public;
*factors fuelling the insurgency and what ISAF and the international community can do to address these; and
*the composition of the insurgency and to what extent it represents a threat beyond the borders of Afghanistan.
The Committee expects to take oral evidence for this inquiry during the late Autumn and early 2011. The Committee would welcome written evidence to this inquiry which should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Monday 1 November 2010.

Sep 10. Select Committees: Evidence Sessions. The following Select Committees are to hold oral evidence sessions in Portcullis House on Wed 8 Sep 10:-
* At 09.30hrs in the Thatcher Room, the Science & Technology Committee is to hear evidence on ‘The New UK Space Agency’.
* At 14.30hrs in the Wilson Room, the Defence Committee is to hear evidence on ‘The Strategic Defence & Security Review’.
* At 14.45hrs in the Thatcher Room, the Foreign Affairs Committee is to hear evidence from the Foreign Secretary on his responsibilities (and, in particular, recent developments in UK foreign policy).
Comment: The UK Space Agency was officially launched on 23 Mar 10, replacing the British National Space Centre. The Agency is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and its role is now to be examined by the relevant Committee.
The telephone numbers for specific Committee information are: Science & Technology – 020 7219 2793; Defence – 020 7219 5745 and Foreign Affairs – 020 7219 6394. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/34, 06 Sep 10)
The Wilson Room, Portcullis House.
Witnesses:
At 2.30 pm
* Ian King, Chief Executive, BAE Systems,
* Richard Martin, Chairman, Kembrey Wiring Systems Ltd,
* Rear Admiral Rees Ward CB, Chief Executive, A?D?S Group Ltd.
Wednesday 15 September 2010
The Grimond Room, Portcullis House

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