Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, responding to today’s announcement on Afghanistan, said:
“As we prepare to celebrate Christmas with our families we remember those in Afghanistan separated from theirs, and those who have been lost never to return to their loved ones.
“We all want to see our troops home as soon as possible so we welcome today’s announcement.
“Many will want reassurances about the safety of those who will remain in Afghanistan after their comrades have left. They may experience increased risk against which they must be protected.
“The country will also want assurance that the troops who return from Afghanistan will not be sent to the back of the dole queue by compulsory Army redundancies.
“There is uncertainty over whether the capability of those departing can be sufficiently replaced by Afghan Forces and there is little detail on post-2014 planning. I hope Ministers will soon be able to give the country greater clarity on these issues, with implications for British taxpayers and our Forces.
“Afghanistan has seen significant but not irreversible progress and there remain immense challenges to overcome. We will work with the Government to make the mission a success and to ensure the fallen and injured are commemorated.”
<img alt="Douglas Alexander" src="uploads/thumbs/M_dfdac11a-679d-c9b4-f135-de2097f84d43.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 3px;"/>
Douglas Alexander MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said:
“We welcome this announcement. It will be a huge relief for their families and loved ones. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude.
“Given that we still expect there will be British troops in harm’s way through 2014, it is vital that the Prime Minister now ensure that their military effort is matched with greater diplomatic efforts to secure the necessary inclusive and durable political settlement in Afghanistan.
“Despite saying it would be his number one foreign policy priority, it is a matter of genuine regret that the Prime Minister has now not made a full statement on Afghanistan to Parliament in 17 months. I hope in the New Year that David Cameron will change this and give our troops not just the recognition, but also the political and diplomatic effort, that their heroism deserves.”<div>