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Afghanistan

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) troops in contact incidents and (b) indirect fire events were recorded in (i) Afghanistan and (ii) Iraq in each month of the last three years. (243255)

The Ministry of Defence is currently collating and validating the data needed to answer this question. I will write to the hon. Member when this work is complete, and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from John Hutton to Gerald Howarth:

I am writing to provide you with the information promised in my holding reply to your Parliamentary Question regarding troops in contact incidents and indirect fire events in Iraq and Afghanistan (Official Record, 4 February 2009, column 1257W).

The Ministry of Defence has recently completed a review of the data required to answer this question, and has revised the manner in which we classify and present data to ensure consistency.

Afghanistan

The numbers of troops in contact events, regardless of the instigator, involving the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and insurgents in Helmand province as part of Task Force Helmand for each complete month from March 2006 to February 2009 for which verified data are available are shown below.

20061

20071

20081

20091

January

60

70

180

February

100

70

180

March

10

140

80

April

0

70

50

May

0

120

60

June

10

110

80

July

120

130

110

August

100

130

200

September

100

130

180

October

40

90

170

November

40

110

200

December

50

130

220

1 Rounded to the nearest 10

The numbers of indirect fire events, regardless of the instigator, involving the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and insurgents in Helmand province as part of Task Force Helmand for each complete month from March 2006 to February 2009 for which verified data are available are shown below.

20061

20071

20081

20091

January

40

30

40

February

50

30

40

March

10

80

50

April

0

40

30

May

0

30

30

June

10

30

40

July

40

50

50

August

70

50

60

September

80

40

50

October

20

60

20

November

20

70

40

December

30

70

60

1 Rounded to the nearest 10

ISAF forces operating in Helmand come from a number of different nations, which often operate closely alongside each other and alongside Afghan Army and Police units. The environment in which forces are operating makes it extremely difficult precisely to distinguish between incidents initiated by insurgent forces and those initiated by ISAF.

Iraq

The numbers of troops in contact events, regardless of the instigator, involving Multinational Forces and insurgents in Multi-National Division (South East) (MND (SE)) for each complete month from March 2006 to February 2009 for which verified data are available are shown below.

20061

20071

20081

20091

January

110

10

0

February

200

0

0

March

20

140

0

April

30

80

10

May

20

120

0

June

30

140

0

July

50

130

0

August

40

60

0

September

50

10

0

October

80

10

0

November

100

0

0

December

150

10

0

1 Rounded to the nearest 10

The numbers of indirect fire events, regardless of the instigator, involving Multinational Forces and insurgents in MND (SE) for each complete month from March 2006 to February 2009 for which verified data are available are shown below.

20061

20071

20081

20091

January

10

30

0

February

120

30

0

March

20

90

30

April

50

120

10

May

40

180

0

June

30

200

0

July

60

230

10

August

60

120

0

September

60

10

0

October

90

20

0

November

70

10

0

December

100

20

0

0

1 Rounded to the nearest 10

Multinational Forces operating in MND (SE) come from a number of different nations, which often operate closely alongside each other and alongside the Iraqi Security Forces. The environment in which forces are operating makes it extremely difficult precisely to distinguish between incidents initiated by insurgent forces and those initiated by Multinational Forces.

All data shown above are data based on information derived from a number of sources and can only be an estimate, not least because of the difficulties in ensuring a consistent interpretation of the basis for collating statistics in a complex fast-moving multinational operational environment.

I hope that the above information addresses your concerns on this matter.

I will place a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.