British troops have now left Afghanistan, but the debate about the conflict itself and what happens next rumbles on. There have been a number of calls for a review of the conflict so that the government can learn lessons about what did and didn’t work – as well as what might happen next in the country, given there isn’t a great deal of confidence that the handover definitely heralds a new era of peace.
I now understand that while there is currently no plan for a formal review or inquiry, ministers plan to hold discussions about lessons learned from the conflict as part of the regular National Security Council meetings and that there will be some kind of public conclusion to these discussions, whether it be a statement in the House of Commons or something published.
A Number 10 source even goes as far as to use what looks like a ‘we have no plans’ line (that is, we might possibly have just these plans in future but we haven’t said anything about them yet – for more guidance on this read Rob Hutton’s book) when I ask about this informal review:
‘No Chilcot-style formal review has been announced but we will ensure we learn the lessons and indeed in various ways have already done so.’
Even the plans that do exist seem to be at a rather nascent stage, according to my sources. So it will be interesting to see what sort of form the plans do take, if and when they are properly announced.