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Afghanistan

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 15 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he classifies (a) al-Qaeda operatives based within Afghanistan, (b) al-Qaeda operatives based outside Afghanistan, (c) Taliban forces based within Afghanistan and (d) Taliban forces based outside Afghanistan as (i) insurgents and (ii) terrorists for the purposes of possible engagement by UK forces based in Helmand Province. (74482)

[holding answer 8 June 2006]: No such classification is required for the purposes of possible engagement by UK forces in Helmand of the various armed groups operating in the province, which may have criminal, tribal or other (including Taliban or, in some cases, al-Qaeda) allegiances.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the mission of the (a) UK troops and (b) other coalition troops in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. (75910)

UK forces, along with coalition partners, are deployed in Helmand province to form part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) expansion into southern Afghanistan. ISAF will work to build security and Government institutions, and to support the Afghan Security Forces in combating insurgents and illegally armed groups. Coalition troops operating under the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom are primarily tasked with conducting counter terrorism missions.