“With the risk of a disorderly rush for the exit as NATO countries announce unilateral and divergent withdrawal dates it is long overdue that this issue is addressed.
“But it only increases the need for more focus and determination to be brought to diplomatic efforts aimed at ensuring Afghanistan does not threaten our security post 2014.”
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, added:
“It is unsettling for our Forces and their families to read about new plans for withdrawal in the media.
“The Government appears to have an exit date but not yet an exit strategy. There is more to leaving Afghanistan than choosing a date. It’s also about stabilising that country so the progress that’s been made doesn’t collapse once international forces leave.
“Unity with key allies over withdrawal is essential and we must hear how major challenges faced by NATO Forces are to be overcome. Representative local security forces, a political settlement inside and outside the country and clarity on long-term international commitments are all vital.”