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Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Official Report, columns 303-4, on Afghanistan, how many civilian helicopters leased by NATO are in use in Afghanistan; and whether any are operating in (a) Helmand, (b) Kandahar, (c) Zabul, (d) Uruzgan, (e) Ghanzi, (f) Pakitka, (g) Khost and (h) Paktia provinces. (190836)

NATO has a contract for a civilian contractor to transport by air up to 13,000 kg per day of cargo in the four largest regional command areas of Afghanistan. The contract is for a service, rather than for a number of capital assets, and therefore the number of helicopters or fixed wing aircraft used to deliver this service can and does vary on a day-to-day basis.

The contract requires a capability to operate from the four main regional hubs outside Kabul to forward operating bases and other locations throughout Afghanistan. The regional hubs are: Kandahar in the south; Herat in the west; Mazar e Sharif in the north; and Bagram in the east. The southern hub covers as required the provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, and Uruzgan. The eastern hub covers the provinces of Ghanzi, Pakitka, Khost and Paktia.