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08 Dec 11. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Sapper (i.e. Private) from 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, died on 8 Dec 11 as a result of having been caught in an improvised explosive device blast while on patrol on 6 Dec 11. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 391, of whom 347 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 8 Dec 11.)
The Police Mentoring and Advisory Group at Lashkar Gah Training Centre is headed by soldiers from 1st Bn The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. (MoD, 5 Dec 11.)
The Foreign Secretary has agreed that the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team should close by the end of 2014. (Written Answer (WA), 5 Dec 11.)
A large number of equipment projects contribute indirectly to improvements in the overall Combat Identification capability. (WA, 7 Dec 11.)
The MoD employs around 5,200 individuals in Afghanistan through private contractors, with around a further 1,000 directly-employed local people. (WA, 8 Dec 11.)
Sappers from 29 Armoured Engineer Squadron improved Route Mars in Lashkar Gah District by installing 18 new culverts. (MoD, 9 Dec 11.)
British troops and Afghan Commandos conducted a dawn raid in Nahr-e Saraj District to target a suspected improvised explosive device factory, in OP EAGLE’S SHADOW. (Media Ops, 10 Dec 11.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary delivered (8 Dec 11) a Written Statement on the outcomes of the Bonn International Conference which was held on 5 Dec 11. The Conference conclusions set out a plan for the international community’s long-term engagement with Afghanistan beyond 2014.
Countering media speculation, the MoD repeated (9 Dec 11) that 500 troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2012 and that troops will not be in Afghanistan in significant numbers or in a combat role by the end of 2014. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/48, 12 Dec 11)
07 Dec 11. Libya: After OP ELLAMY (19 Mar – 31 Oct 11). The Prime Minister hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street, on 6 Dec 11, for Service men and women who took part in OP ELLAMY. (MoD, 7 Dec 11.)
17 Countries were involved in military Operations in Libya. The non-European Union Countries which contributed assets to enforce the no-fly zone were Canada, Jordan, Norway, Qatar, the UAE and the US. Turkey also provided assets specifically to enforce the arms embargo. (WA, 8 Dec 11.)
The net additional cost of OP ELLAMY is now estimated to be £212m, made up of £145m in operating costs and £67m as the cost of replenishing munitions. The additional costs incurred on OP ELLAMY will be borne by the Treasury Reserve and will be in addition to the core Defence budget. (Written Statement, 8 Dec 11.)
As the final RAF vehicle convoys came back from Italy they were welcomed at RAF Wittering by the Chief of the Air Staff. (RAF, 9 Dec 11.)
Comment: The FCO Minister for the Middle East and North Africa visited Tripoli on 7 Dec 11 in order to discuss “how to take forward a comprehensive new partnership between the two Countries”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/48, 12 Dec 11)
07 Dec 11. Royal Succession: Change of Rules. The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee published (7 Dec 11) a Report on Rules of Royal Succession. The Government proposes to amend the rules of succession in order to:-
* Allow an elder daughter to come before a younger son in the line of succession.
* End the bar on someone succeeding to the throne if they marry a Roman Catholic.
The Report also draws attention to connected issues, particularly: the future role of the Crown in the Church of England and the continued ineligibility of women to succeed to hereditary peerages. The Report is published as HC 1615, for £10:00.
Comment: The Report points out that the Crowns of many other European monarchies, including Belgium, the Netherlands an