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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 476: debated on Monday 19 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many weapons caches have been found in (a) Basra, (b) Maysan, (c) Dhi Qar and (d) Al Muthanna in each year since 2003. (200962)

Data on weapons cache finds have only been recorded since 1 January 2004. The number of weapons cache finds by Multi National Forces in Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar and Al Muthanna in each year since 2004 are as follows:

Finds of weapons caches

Al Muthanna

Basra

Dhi Qar

Maysaan

Grand total

2004

6

64

76

18

16

2005

5

46

50

27

128

2006

4

44

23

4

75

2007

1

15

2

4

22

2008

0

9

3

0

12

In addition, some 150 weapons caches were discovered in Basrah during April 20081 as part of the ongoing operations in the City led by the Iraqi Security Forces.

1 Up to 16 April 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the anti-insurgency strategies being employed by British and United States forces in Iraq. (203680)

The coalition’s strategy is to transfer security responsibility to the Iraqis so that they can take the lead in defeating the main threats to security and stability. Our assessment, reflected in the recent testimony given by Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus to the US Congress, is that the strategy is working and significant progress has been made across Iraq in improving security, including in Basra as a result of the recent Iraqi-led operation Charge of the Knights. Coalition forces continue to provide support to the Government of Iraq and their security forces as they seek to extend and consolidate security and underpin it with political and economic progress.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many interpreters his Department employs in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan; and how much they cost in the latest period for which figures are available. (204559)

We currently employ 108 interpreters in Iraq and 316 interpreters in Afghanistan. The total cost paid to cover salary and overtime for April 2008 was around £92,510 in Iraq and around £175,840 in Afghanistan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Mesopotamia Group has requested rotary wing air escort since the start of the ISAF Contracted Air Transport contract. (204569)

Mesopotamia Group has not requested rotary wing air escort since the start of the ISAF Contracted Air Transport contract.