(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.