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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Mastiff vehicles have been blown up in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan since 2003; and what the date was of each incident. (218445)

I am withholding the information requested as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in ensuring British armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are appropriately equipped. (219915)

Excellent progress has been made in ensuring British forces serving on operations are provided with world class equipment. We have delivered equipment valued at more than £10 billion to the armed forces in the last three years, with over £3.6 billion of Urgent Operational Requirements being approved for Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of operations, including for vehicles, personal protection and Electronic Counter Measures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2008, Official Report, columns 623-4W, on Iraq: peacekeeping operations, whether it is the policy of the Government that a renewed mandate for coalition forces in Iraq should include a timetable for withdrawal of coalition forces. (220044)

We have always made clear that adjustments to UK force levels in Iraq are made on the basis of progress in fulfilling our main military tasks and the conditions on the ground, and not on arbitrary timetables.

As the Prime Minister set out on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 662-63, we expect—subject to conditions on the ground—to be able to make the transition to a long-term bilateral military relationship in the first months of 2009, following the completion of our main military tasks.

Assessments of progress in completing our tasks will form part of the ongoing discussions with the Iraqi Government and our coalition partners on the legal basis for our military presence after 2008.