Skip to main content

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what circumstances service personnel serving in Afghanistan are not issued with a personal morphine capsule; (300265)

(2) whether all service personnel entering theatre in Afghanistan have been issued with a personal morphine capsule.

[holding answer 23 November 2009]: Personal morphine auto injectors are issued to service personnel in Afghanistan rather than personal morphine capsules. They should be issued to all service personnel who deploy “outside the wire” of the main operating bases. Those staff who work in the main operating bases, Camp Bastion and Kandahar Airfield, are issued with personal morphine auto injectors if the threat level dictates they should.

The only circumstance when personal morphine auto injectors should not be issued to service personnel in Afghanistan is when they are based in a main operating base where the threat level does not require it.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) minor injuries, (b) serious injuries and (c) fatalities among Afghan civilians have been recorded by his Department in Afghanistan in each year since 2001. (303808)

The UK Government do not collate or publish figures for civilian casualties in Afghanistan because of the immense difficulty and risks of collecting robust data. Every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties and any that are the result of action by UK armed forces are always a matter of profound regret.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2009, Official Report, column 657W, on Afghanistan: peacekeeping operations, how many helicopters have been deployed to Afghanistan as a direct result of the UK-French helicopter initiative. (304349)

The first three helicopters will deploy to Afghanistan this month. We expect a further four helicopters to deploy from late 2010 and up to a further four by 2013.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his NATO counterparts on sourcing the requirement for ISAF’s Operational Reserve Force; and what progress has been made in these discussions. (304361)

The operational reserve force for ISAF has not been filled since 2007. NATO’s priority has been to generate operational forces for deployment into theatre rather than the reserve, and this has been the focus of discussions in the alliance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Pakistani military personnel are (a) assigned, (b) attached and (c) embedded with coalition military forces in Regional Command South. (304368)

There are currently no personnel from the Pakistani armed forces assigned to, attached to or embedded with coalition armed forces in regional command (south). There is a small team of Pakistani military personnel based at the official border crossing point in regional command (south); they are working with Afghan and coalition partners to help facilitate border crossing activity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British military personnel are (a) embedded with Pakistani military units and (b) based in Pakistan to co-ordinate military operations in support of British military operations in Regional Command South. (304372)

There are currently no UK military personnel embedded with Pakistani military units. There are three UK military staff based at the British high commission in Islamabad, who provide a liaison and co-ordination function between the Pakistani military and UK and NATO operations in Afghanistan, which includes regional command (south).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records his Department keeps in respect of civilian contractors killed while working in support of UK operations overseas; how many such contractors have been killed while supporting UK operations in Afghanistan since 2005; and if he will make a statement. (304744)

We have a record of the civilian contractors killed supporting UK forces in Iraq who have been recorded on the memorial wall at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. We hold some records that have been provided by contractors supporting UK forces in Afghanistan.

Detailed and reliable information on the number of contractors killed while supporting UK operations in Afghanistan is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Collating comprehensive data on fatalities suffered by our contractors is very difficult due to the variety of contractors and the various ways in which they are employed.

We greatly value the work done by our civilian contractors in supporting operations in Afghanistan and we take very seriously our responsibilities towards them.