26 Feb 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. 26 nations are contributing Service personnel in Iraq. Five nations operate in Multinational Division (South East), the UK’s area of responsibility: Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania and Romania. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 26 Feb 07.) The Queen’s Royal Lancers have taken on the role of a reconnaissance unit on the Iran/Iraq border region of Maysaan Province. (MoD, 26 Feb 07.) There are approximately 132,000 personnel in the Iraqi Army and 135,000 in the Iraqi Police. The Iraqi Prime Minister intends to expand the Army to around 170,000. (WA, 27 Feb 07.) A Rifleman (i.e. Private) from 2nd Bn The Rifles died as a result of injuries from small arms fire in North Basrah on 27 Feb 07. (MoD, 28 Feb 07.) UK deaths since the start of hostilities thus rose to 133 (six from natural causes, 39 accidentally, six from friendly fire and 82 killed in action). There are currently 7,100 UK troops in Iraq and its territorial waters. There are 1,400 to 1,500 British military vehicles in Iraq. (WA, 1 Mar 07.) From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Feb 07, 136 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 778 were aeromedically evacuated from Iraq. (MoD, 2 Mar 07.)
Comment: The International Development Secretary published (1 Mar 07) a House of Commons Written Statement on reconstruction and development in Iraq, where progress remained “mixed”. The UK had fully disbursed the ‘Madrid pledge’ of £544m plus an additional £100m subsequently announced by the Chancellor. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0710, 05 Mar 07)
26 Feb 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Defence Secretary announced (26 Feb 07) that an additional 1,400 troops were to deploy to Southern Afghanistan at NATO’s request. These troops are in addition to those announced on 1 Feb 07 (and listed in DNA Issue 07/07) and will bring the total number of UK Forces in Afghanistan to around 7,700. The extra troops will mainly be a battle group from 1st Bn The Royal Welsh Regiment with a Company from 1st Bn Scots Guards. (Hansard, 26 Feb 07, Column 620 et seq.)
37 nations, including the UK, are contributing Service personnel to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Those operating in Regional Command (South) with the UK are: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and the US. (MA, 26 Feb 07.)
The UK operates eight Chinook, eight Apache and five Lynx helicopters in Afghanistan plus others assigned for the support of allied Forces. (MA, 26 Feb 07.) The Foreign Secretary arrived in Kabul (27 Feb 07) on her first visit to Afghanistan, which included meetings with representatives of the Afghan Government, ISAF and NATO. (FCO, 27 Feb 07.) There are currently some 5,000 UK troops in Afghanistan. There are 1,000 to 1,100 British military vehicles in the country. (WA, 1 Mar 07.) From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Feb 07, 104 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 299 were aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan. (MoD, 2 Mar 07.)
Comment: The Defence Committee is to take evidence for its Inquiry into ‘UK Operations in Afghanistan’. The Defence Secretary is due to give evidence at 10.30hrs on Tue 20 Mar 07 in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House. Other witnesses are due to be examined at 10.00hrs on Tue 27 Mar 07, also in the Thatcher Room. Confirmation of the venues can be obtained by telephone (020-7219 2033) nearer the hearing/s. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0710, 05 Mar 07)
01 Mar 07. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH): OP ALTHEA. The Armed Forces’ Minister announced (1 Mar 07) that the UK battle group in BiH was to be withdrawn at the end of March 2007. Over 600 troops, mainly from 1st Bn Welsh Guards, are to return to the UK. A small number of troops are to remain in BiH to oversee the transition to a new EUFOR structure. In the House of Commons, the Minister said that commemorative events were being planned to honour the 55 personnel who had died in BiH since 1992.
Comment: The EU decided (27 F