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10 Sep 10. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 have risen to 335, of whom 295 were killed as a result of hostile action. As confirmed by the MoD (10 Sep 10), the recent fatalities are:-
* A Lance Corporal from 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland was killed on 5 Sep 10 during an exchange of fire with insurgents in the Nad ‘Ali District.
* A Captain from 2nd Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment died on 5 Sep 10 from wounds sustained in Nahr-e Saraj on 24 Aug 10.
* A soldier from 2nd Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment died on 10 Sep 10 from wounds sustained in Nahr-e Saraj on 23 Aug 10.
The main route between Lashkar Gah and Gereshk is being improved by Sappers from 4th Armoured Engineer Squadron and others. (MoD, 6 Sep 10.)
A group of soldiers escaped unharmed after their Mastiff armoured vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED). (MoD, 7 Sep 10.)
Comment: The House of Commons debated the motion “That this House supports the continued deployment of UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan” (Hansard, 9 Sep 10, Column 494 et seq). The motion was carried by 310 votes to 14. [Excluding the Speaker, his three Deputies and the five Sinn Fein Members who have not taken their seats, there are 641 Members eligible to vote. Thus 317 Members (50%) could not be bothered to vote on this matter and should be ashamed of themselves.] (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/35, 13 Sep 10)
14 Sep 10. Defence spending cuts planned by the Treasury are so severe they risk disrupting operations in Afghanistan, MPs have warned in a report criticising the review process. The Commons defence committee argues that the “startling” speed at which the review is being conducted means serious mistakes “will be made” in reconfiguring the armed forces. Separately, a scathing public accounts committee report has found that a much-delayed £10.5bn programme to provide 14 refuelling tankers for the Royal Air Force “has not secured value for money” because it was procured using private finance. Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, said there was “no excuse” for failing to examine alternatives to the private finance initiative structure, adding that some of the mistakes made were “simply astonishing”. The defence committee report highlights the “serious concerns” of MPs that industry has been formally consulted in very few areas. “Treating defence industrial capacity and capability as an after-thought risks reducing the robustness of what the [defence review] will propose.” Of the fast pace of the review and urgent necessity to cut the defence budget, the committee warns that “the department could end up with only short-term priorities, misaligned resources, a barely reformed acquisition process, and a structure short of manpower to deliver good performance and improperly configured for its tasks”. The MPs argue it would be “short sighted” to allow operations to “overly determine the nature of future capabilities”. However, the report warns that cuts of 10 to 20 per cent would jeopardise “the capacity of the country even to sustain current in-use capabilities and