I have today laid before the House a departmental minute describing a package of surplus counter-improvised explosive device (CIED) equipment which the UK intends to gift to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, at their request.
Pakistan faces a severe threat from IED attacks perpetrated by terrorist groups, and has sought assistance from the UK in tackling this threat and developing the capabilities of its security forces. The UK is delivering a CIED programme to assist Pakistan in establishing a multi-agency capability for tackling IEDs. This package will complement that programme.
Pakistan has a rapidly expanding CIED capability with close to 5,000 practitioners already trained. IEDs are being defeated across the provinces and lives are being saved. Pakistani battalions who benefited from UK support are now operating in counter-terrorism operations in the North Waziristan agency and Pakistan’s Chief of General Staff has reported a noticeable reduction in casualties: UK help is saving lives.
Developing counter-terrorism capability in Pakistan supports UK objectives under the counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST), targets the problem at source and reduces the risk of a terrorist attack against that nation or another, including the UK.
Subject to completion of the departmental minute process, gifting is expected to be undertaken in the first quarter of 2015.