[holding answer 3 July 2006]: When the UK forces’ current deployment to Afghanistan is complete, there will be around 5,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan, of which the majority will be under the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with a small number, including the training teams in Kabul and a number of staff officers remaining under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) control. Our detachment of Harrier GR7s will be available to support both ISAF and OEF. These are separate and distinct missions, although troops deployed on OEF may also act in support of the NATO mission.
The deployment of HQ 16 Air Assault Brigade and associated force elements will end as planned in October.
An announcement on which units will replace them will be made in the House in due course.
[holding answer 4 July 2006]: The CH-47 Chinook helicopter reaches the scene of the incident within the time period determined by the medical planning guidelines for emergency responses of this type. I am withholding the exact details as disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the security of the armed forces. However, a recently completed post-incident report found no fault with the CASEVAC service.
We constantly assess and evaluate the information and intelligence available to coalition and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Such material is evaluated and, where necessary, graded to ensure only reliable and credible material is used.