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06 Apr 06. Afghanistan: Defence Committee Report. The Defence Committee published a Report on The UK deployment to Afghanistan which also covers the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps’ (ARRC) leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). UK Armed Forces are preparing for two separate but related deployments to Afghanistan. From
May 2006 until February 2007, the UK-led ARRC will take over command of NATO’s ISAF while it expands its presence from Kabul and the Northern Provinces to the less stable Southern Provinces. From June 2006, 16 Air Assault Brigade is to deploy to Helmand Province where the opium trade flourishes and the Taliban has significant support. The Committee is “deeply concerned” that the airlift and close support capability may not be sufficient to support the Helmand deployment. The Report starts a two-part Inquiry, focusing on pre-deployment issues. The second part of the Inquiry is to consider lessons learned from the deployment.
Comment: The Report is published with a record of the oral evidence taken on 17 Jan and 7 Mar 06 and with some useful written evidence. Among the latter, starting at Evidence page 44, are three MoD Memoranda which are particularly helpful for those wishing to understand the Government’s position over Afghanistan. The Report is available from TSO and from The Parliamentary Bookshop (Tel: 020-7219 3890), as HC 558, for £14:40. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0615, 10 Apr 06)

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