As detailed in my statement of 16 December 2008, Official Report, column 105WS, The Second Battalion, The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment are temporarily deployed to Afghanistan until March 2009. They will be replaced by The Second Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who will be deployed until August 2009.
We welcome the decision taken by the Afghan authorities and the International Community on 10 September 2008 to increase the size of the Afghan National Army from 80,000 to 134,000. This includes operational units, trainers and enablers.
Building Afghanistan’s capacity to provide security for its people remains key to success. Therefore the UK supports ANA expansion both of its combat capabilities and in key supporting elements such as engineering, intelligence, and logistics.
The majority of people in Afghanistan can go about their daily lives without fear of violence but, in certain areas of the country, particularly in the south and east, significant security challenges remain.
The Taliban have failed using conventional tactics and are turning to increasingly indiscriminate attacks, which show complete disregard for the safety of the local population.