§ Paul Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent of the areas which are under Taliban or Jihadist control in Afghanistan.
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
Although scattered elements of Al Qa'ida and the Taliban remain in Afghanistan and continue to mount attacks against international and Afghan targets, the perpetrators cannot be said to control the areas in which they operate. Many attacks are carried out by insurgents who cross between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Others are mounted on a hit-and-run basis by groups within Afghanistan. Extremists are undoubtedly attempting to establish bases from which to operate. But successful military operations conducted by the Coalition and units of the Afghan National Army are preventing them from doing so. Apparent isolated instances of low-level control generally amount to no more than evidence of Taliban intimidation of local communities.