The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

Foreign Secretary (1989)

Mr Major’s Parliamentary Answer on Afghanistan – 25 October 1989

Below is the text of Mr Major’s Parliamentary Answer on Afghanistan, held on 25th October 1989


Mr. Wareing To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty’s Government’s policy towards Afghanistan.

Mr. Major We have consistently supported efforts to replace the present regime in Kabul with a truly representative Government acceptable to the majority of Afghans. That is the necessary preliminary to any lasting settlement and to the voluntary return of Afghan refugees.

Mr. Wareing It is now nearly six months since the Soviet Union did the right thing and withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. It is perfectly clear that the Government in Kabul is far from being doomed as we were told that it would be, but we do know that the feudal terrorists are pouring rockets into Kabul onto hospitals and buses, and innocent people are being killed. Will the Foreign Secretary assure us that he will use all his energies to ensure that neither the United States nor Pakistan gives succour or arms to these terrorists?

Mr. Major In view of what the hon. Gentleman has just said, he may be both surprised and shocked to know that in the six months since Russian troops left, 4,000 supply flights from Russia have gone to Najibullah.

Mr. Ron Brown Does the Minister accept and understand why the regime has not been defeated? It is because the workers, peasants and above all the revolutionary women who support the Government have made it clear that they back enlightened change and reforms. It is about time that this Government understood those things and that one cannot defeat a revolution with popular backing. Despite all the dirty tricks, the regime in Afghanistan will prevail.

Mr. Major I fear that I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman. So enlightened is the regime to which he refers that 5 million people have fled from it.