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Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the incident in Helmand province, Afghanistan on 17 May. (74852)

On 17 May, the Musa Qaleh District Centre in Northern Helmand was attacked by an estimated 150 insurgents. Afghan National Police (ANP) successfully responded to the incident and the insurgents fled further North towards the town of Tisney. The ANP pursued the insurgents, suffering 13 fatalities and approximately ten wounded; UK forces provided medical support to the injured ANP. It is thought that up to 50 insurgents were killed by the Afghan forces, 10 were wounded and some equipment (including a 4x4 vehicle) was seized.

UK forces, along with the ANP and Afghan National Army, have since established a presence in Musa Qualeh to prevent insurgents from returning there, and to help establish the rule of law and aid reconstruction efforts. This has been well received by the local population.