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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 494: debated on Monday 22 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contacts between British and Taliban forces there have been in Helmand Province in each of the last 12 months. (280816)

The numbers of troops in contact events (regardless of the instigator) involving the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and insurgents in Helmand province recorded by Task Force Helmand for each complete month from May 2008 to April 2009 are shown in the following table.

Number of contacts1

May 2008

60

June 2008

80

July 2008

110

August 2008

200

September 2008

180

October 2008

170

November 2008

200

December 2008

220

January 2009

180

February 2009

180

March 2009

250

April 2009

150

1 Rounded to 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.

These data are 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. The Ministry of Defence has completed a review of the data required to answer questions such as this, and has revised the manner in which we classify and present data to ensure consistency.