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Afghanistan and Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy personnel were engaged on land in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq on the latest date for which figures are available. (267791)

The endorsed size of the force committed to Operation HERRICK 9 is just over 8,000. As announced by the Prime Minister on 15 December 2008, Official Report, column 816, the number of British troops deployed to Afghanistan has temporarily been increased to around 8,300, of which more than 2,000 are currently drawn from the Royal Navy including the Royal Marines. This figure will decrease over the coming weeks, as 19 Light Brigade replace 3 Commando Brigade as the core of the Helmand taskforce.

There are currently some 4,100 members of the UK armed forces deployed on land in southern Iraq under Operation TELIC 13, just under 200 of which are members of the Royal Navy.

The precise number of personnel in each theatre at any one time fluctuates very significantly and on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including mid-tour rest and recuperation, temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces and visits. We do not therefore publish actual figures for personnel deployed in theatre.