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14 Dec 09. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. This will be our last issue for 2009.
07 Dec 09. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Lance Corporal from 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment died as a result of small arms fire in the Nad e-Ali area on 7 Dec 09. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 237, of whom 206 were killed as a result of hostile action. (MoD, 7 Dec 09.)
“We believe it is possible to start transferring lead responsibility for security to the Afghans in certain Districts and Provinces in 2010.” (MoD, 7 Dec 09.)
There are currently no UK military personnel embedded with Pakistani military units. There are three UK military staff at the British High Commission in Islamabad. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 7 Dec 09.)
Two Boeing E-3D Sentry aircraft and some 200 personnel from 8 Squadron, RAF are being deployed to the Middle East. The detachment is to return to its home base at RAF Waddington by 28 Feb 10. (Defence Secretary, 8 Dec 09.)
The total number of the Afghan National Army is approximately 96,000, including those under training. (MA, 8 Dec 09.)
Since March 2006, there have been 141 one-way flights undertaken using the NATO Strategic Airlift Interim Solution, at a total cost of £25m. (MA, 8 Dec 09.)
“….collating comprehensive data on fatalities suffered by our contractors is very difficult….detailed and reliable information is not held centrally….” (MA, 9 Dec 09.)
The estimated population in the UK’s area of responsibility in Helmand Province is between 750,000 and 800,000. (MA, 9 Dec 09.)
The bulk of the UK’s efforts in supporting the Afghan economy comes from the Department for International Development (DfID). (MA, 9 Dec 09.)
“The enemy is the Taliban who ran Afghanistan, who provided safe havens for Al-Qaeda and international terrorism.” (Defence Secretary, 10 Dec 09.)
Comment: The Permanent Under Secretary of State (PUS – the most senior Civil Servant in the MoD) delivered a lecture at the RUSI on 9 Dec 09. Sir Bill (Jeffrey) reiterated that “Afghanistan was our main effort”. Early in 2010, PUS is to accompany his opposite numbers from the FCO and DfID for a further visit to Afghanistan. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 10/47, 14 Dec 09)
16 Dec 09. MOD announces new Air Safety Authorty. Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has today announced the creation of a new military airworthiness authority to ensure aviation safety standards are of the highest order at all times. The Military Aviation Authority (MAA) has been created as part of the MOD’s full response to the Nimrod Review by Charles Haddon-Cave QC following the deaths of 14 service personnel onboardÂ Nimrod XV230 on 2 September 2006. The MAA will include an independent body to audit and scrutinize air safety activity. The MAA will be in place by 5 April 2010. The creation of the MAA was one of two key strategic recommendations of Mr Haddon-Cave’s report which have both been accepted by the MoD. The other key recommendation is a revised arrangement of safety responsibilities for those personnel charge