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Armed Forces: Afghanistan

Volume 696: debated on Monday 12 November 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

As part of our ongoing support to current operations, I am today announcing the formation of a temporary brigade headquarters to command UK forces in Afghanistan over the period October 2009 to April 2010. The brigade, which will be known as 11 Light Brigade, will be formed from existing service personnel and will be based in Aldershot.

The current deployment of UK troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is planned until 2009, although we have always made clear that our commitment to Afghanistan is a long-term one. The precise size and duration of the UK military in Afghanistan will depend on a number of factors, including the ability of Afghan security forces to take greater responsibility for the security of their own country. However, to ensure that any forces we might deploy are properly prepared and commanded, it is necessary for the brigade headquarters to be established now. We will keep our planning assumption under review, but currently we assess that this HQ would disband on its return from Afghanistan.