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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which items are prohibited from being (a) posted, (b) shipped in military transport and (c) individually carried from (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan by (A) members of the armed forces and (B) departmental civilians. (203212)

All armed forces personnel and MOD staff are subject to stringent internationally recognised civilian standards with regards to posting, shipping in military transport and individually carrying items from any theatre of operations. The criteria are defined in the appropriate dangerous goods regulations. The nature of military operations necessitate for national security and operational reasons, some key exemptions such as movement of munitions by air, which are defined in Joint Service Publication 367 for postal and Joint Service Publication 800 for movements and transport.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of airbridge flights for personnel serving in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan have been delayed, broken down by number of hours delayed. (203219)

Punctuality data for airbridge flights to and from Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 12 months are set out in the following table:

Op Telic (Iraq)Op Herrick (Afghanistan)

Percentage

On time or less than one hour's delay

83

72

Between one and three hours delay

11

11

Between three and six hours delay

3

7

More than six hours delay

4

11

Punctuality is measured against the scheduled time of arrival. Percentages have been rounded and may therefore not total 100 per cent.

The airbridge has provided a consistent and reliable service over the period, moving large numbers of personnel and material into hostile environments under difficult conditions and over strategic distances. Every effort is made to minimise delays.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) fully-armed and (b) partially-armed personnel carriers have been lost due to (i) enemy fire and (ii) accidents in (A) Afghanistan and (B) Iraq since 2003. (203233)

[holding answer 1 May 2008]: I am withholding the information requested as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of Taliban insurgents killed by British forces in Afghanistan since 2001. (203657)

We do not routinely collate data on the number of insurgents killed by UK forces in Afghanistan. Collecting accurate information would be extremely difficult, given the dynamic nature of the conflict. As we have repeatedly made clear, the long term means to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan is through a wide range of military and non-military activities and not through an attritional military campaign. In many instances, therefore, the inevitable risks to our service personnel from trying accurately to collect the information required to answer this question outweigh the benefits from obtaining that data.