The Ministry of Defence will continue to use a range of activities to explain the value of the international mission in Afghanistan and the vital role that UK Armed Forces are playing in it. This programme includes visits by media to the operational theatre, background and on-the-record briefings by Ministers, senior officials and service personnel, speeches and articles and direct engagement with key stakeholders including the Afghan community living in the UK. We will also use new media channels to deliver our messages. Our programme continues to develop and a number of activities, which exploit these and other channels, are planned for the rest of the year and beyond. Key areas of focus will be the Afghanistan elections, the deployment of 11 Brigade and the return of 19 Light Brigade and the UK becoming the lead partner nation in RC South. Our communications activities will form part of the cross-government communications effort.
The MoD places a very high priority on the welfare of its service personnel and their families. To that end, the MoD has robust procedures in place to support immediate family members of service personnel who are killed while on operations. These procedures are under constant review to ensure that the support provided meets the needs of the recipients and reflect current MoD policy. Families are assigned a visiting officer who acts as the link between the family and the services, assisting with such matters as repatriation, funeral arrangements and expenses, and help with necessary paperwork to procure pensions etc. The visiting officers will also direct the family to the most appropriate internal and external welfare agencies for specific areas of support.