rory meets hamid karzai in house of commons

Rory met the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, at the House of Commons yesterday, 1st March 2011. Mr Stewart and MPs from the Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committees met with Mr Karzai in the House of Commons to discuss the current issues facing Afghanistan and to debate the wider repercussions of instability in Northern Africa.

Rory’s meeting with Mr Karzai came a day after Rory questioned the Prime Minister in the House about the UK’s role in Afghanistan in relation to the current uprising in Libya. Mr Stewart said “Libya is a wake-up call that Afghanistan is not the only country that matters in the world. It shows that we have not had a balanced, moderate foreign policy”. Rory pressed the Prime Minister on “whether he agreed that this is a reason to accelerate the draw-down of resources from Afghanistan, so that we can meet the many crises in the world, of which Libya is one, that will confront us over the next decade?” In his response Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Mr Stewart’s ‘considerable experience in Afghanistan’.

The Foreign Affairs Committee report on Afghanistan, written by Rory Stewart and the other members of the committee, is published today. It is a sobre description of the many failures in international policy in Afghanistan since 2001. It suggests that success in counter-insurgency is unlikely and that there is an urgent need for a political strategy and negotiation with the Taliban before our 2015 departure. Rory said “I am delighted the committee has produced such a strong critical report, and that the Prime Minister has set a firm deadline for withdrawal. We should do all we can to get our troops out of harm’s way as soon as possible.”

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