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13 Feb 10. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 have risen to 258, of whom 225 were killed as a result of hostile action. As confirmed by the MoD (13 Feb 10), the recent fatalities are:
* A Corporal and a Private from 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland were killed by as explosion near Sangin on 7 Feb 10.
* A Warrant Officer Class 2 from 36 Engineer Regiment was killed by an IED (improvised explosive device) in the Nad ‘Ali District on 8 Feb 10.
* A Lance Corporal from 1st Bn Coldstream Guards died as a result of an explosion in the Babaji District on 11 Feb 10.
* A soldier from 1st Bn Grenadier Guards was killed by an explosion in the Nad ‘Ali District on 13 Feb 10. [The first reported fatality from OP MOSHTARAK.]
There are approximately 150 Service personnel registered as fluent Pashtun speakers, of whom nine are currently serving in Afghanistan. Approximately 525 local civilians are employed as interpreters. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 10 Feb 10.)
By October 2010, the Afghan National Army (ANA) is planned to be 134,000 strong. The ANA should reach 240,000 by 2013 when it is due to achieve full operational capability, complete with logistic and support elements. (MoD, 10 Feb 10.)
The ‘Clearing’ Phase of OP MOSHTARAK began at 04.00hrs (local) on 13 Feb 10. The Operation is focusing on Marjah, where activities are being led by Afghan Forces and US Marines, and on Nad ‘Ali where Afghan, Canadian, Danish, Estonian and US Forces have joined the British. UK Forces include Battle Groups from
1st Bn Grenadier Guards, 1st Bn Coldstream Guards and 1st Bn Royal Welsh.
Comment: OP MOSHTARAK involves around 15,000 ISAF and ANA troops, including 4,000 from the UK.
ISAF defines the goal of the Operation as to assert the authority of the Afghan Government in Central
Helmand and thus demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the population. The MoD’s definition of the Operation’s objectives “are to improve security and freedom of movement within the main population areas of Central Helmand”.
14 Feb 10. Nato hails major Afghan operation. Nato forces in Afghanistan have hailed as a success the first phase of a major operation to oust the Taliban from two key districts of Helmand in the south. More than 15,000 US, UK and Afghan troops swept into Marjah and Nad Ali before dawn on Saturday. Officials said key day one objectives had been met. Overnight there was limited fighting, but no casualties were reported. Two Nato deaths were confirmed on Saturday. Operation Moshtarak is the biggest attack since the Taliban fell in 2001. Moshtarak – which means “together” in the Dari language – is being led by 4,000 US marines, supported by 4,000 British troops, a large Afghan force and Canadians, Danes and Estonians. (Source: BBC)
17 Feb 10. In reaction to unsolicited press reports regarding the latest steps of the A400M negotiations, the company cautions that it is too early to draw financial conclusions yet. EADS confirms that it has received a letter from the customer nations of the A400M programme, summarising the status of the negotiations and proposin