We take our responsibilities towards locally employed staff in Afghanistan very seriously and have in place a number of measures to reduce the risks they face. Security of all staff is kept under review and actively managed, and staff are encouraged to raise any concerns. We are unable to provide specific details about these measures, as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice their capability, effectiveness and security.
I am not able to give details of the numbers of helicopters delivered to Afghanistan because the release of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness, or security of our armed forces.
However, since November 2006 we have increased the number of airframes by 79 per cent. and flying hours by 95 per cent. We are also converting eight Chinook Mk 3 aircraft to a support helicopter role, with the first of these aircraft being made available for training before the end of this year, and the remaining seven being delivered to Joint Helicopter Command by the end of 2010. This will allow us to deliver more Chinooks to Afghanistan during 2010.
The Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) Order 2005 makes provision of compensation for all members and former members of the Regular Armed Forces or Reserve Forces should they be injured, become ill or die as a result of service.
Awards are tariff based depending upon the nature and severity of the injury. There is no standard provision for particular types of injury or theatre of operation.
There has been no stabilisation activity in the Babaji area of Helmand Province before August of 2009, as up until the recent clearance operations, civilian-military teams were unable to gain access, due to the security situation there. The term “Quick Impact Projects” is no longer used. However, we do provide commanders with the ability to address immediate, tactical and local, consent/stabilisation issues in Babaji and elsewhere in theatre via the Commanders Stabilisation Fund (CSF). Medium and longer term initiatives in theatre (including Babaji) are the responsibility of the Provincial Reconstruction Team which is, in turn, the responsibility of the FCO.