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Afghanistan

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans the Army has to deploy Warriors to Afghanistan. (97426)

There are currently no plans to deploy Warrior to Afghanistan, although we keep our force package under constant review to ensure our commanders on the ground have the tools that they need to do the job.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the security situation in Helmand province; (42993)

(2) what progress has been made in the preparations on the ground in Helmand province for a possible UK deployment; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the House to my recent statement on 10 October 2006, Official Report, columns 173-76, detailing British military operations in Helmand province in support of a wider cross-Governmental programme of reconstruction.

My most recent statement, and previous ones on 26 January 2006, Official Report, columns 1529-33, 10 July 2006, Official Report, columns 1131-35, and my written ministerial statement of 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 74-76WS, announcing the deployment of elements of the Helmand Task Force always made clear that we recognized that Helmand was a dangerous operating environment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average number of Harrier sorties in Afghanistan was in each month of 2006. (93347)

The number of Harrier sorties in Afghanistan for each month of 2006 to September is as follows:

Number of sorties

January

104

February

104

March

98

April

142

May

120

June

125

July

131

August

134

September

248

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provisions are in place for compensation for Afghan civilians (a) killed, (b) wounded and (c) otherwise harmed during International Security Assistance Force operations. (94703)

When compensation claims are received they are considered on the basis of whether or not the UK Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation. Where there is a proven legal liability, compensation is paid.

From the outset of operations in Afghanistan we have recognised our duty to provide compensation to Afghan civilians where this is required by the law. The procedures for handling compensation claims are straightforward and have been tested in other operational theatres. An area claims officer based in Helmand Province handles routine claims, but to ensure a consistent approach those cases involving death or serious injury of Afghan civilians are handled by claims staff in UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the expected length of duty is for servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (92724)

The standard tour length is six months for Army and Royal Navy personnel, and four months for Royal Air Force personnel within all theatres, including Afghanistan.