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21 Jan 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Signaller (i.e. Private) from 200 Signal Squadron died at a base in Nahr-e Saraj on 24 Jan 12 (the death not being attributable to hostile action). A soldier from 1st Bn The Yorkshire Regiment was fatally wounded in an insurgent attack in Nahr-e Saraj on 27 Jan 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 397, of whom 352 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 27 Jan 12.)
The Reaper detachment from 39 Squadron RAF, based at Kandahar Airfield, has recorded over 30,000 hours of Operational flying near Afghanistan. (RAF Ops Update, 21 Jan 12.)
UK Force levels in Afghanistan will reduce from 9,500 to 9,000 by the end of 2012. By the end of 2014 British troops will no longer be in a combat role. (Lords’ Spokesman, 23 Jan 12.)
The Afghan Army is now almost 180,000 strong and the Afghan Police has nearly 144,000 men and women in uniform. (MoD, 26 Jan 12.)
Soldiers from The Queen’s Royal Hussars and 1st Bn The Yorkshire Regiment took part in an airborne mission (OP ZMARAY IBDA) to capture an insurgent commander. (Media Ops, 28 Jan 12.)
Comment: With the inclusion of Bahrain, the number of ISAF’s Troop Contributing Nations rose to 50. As at
9 Jan 12, the total strength of ISAF was a nominal 130,236 (compared with 130,313 on 8 Dec 11).
The Afghan President arrived in the UK, from France, on Sat 28 Jan 12. Mr Karzai met the Prime Minister at his official country residence in order to confirm arrangements for future British involvement in Afghanistan. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/05, 30 Jan 12)
23 Jan 12. Australia: Ministerial Talks. The Foreign and Defence Secretaries welcomed their Australian counterparts to London (23/24 Jan 12). The Ministers discussed a range of international issues “including economic rebalancing, climate change, human rights and key foreign policy issues such as DPRK [North Korea], Iran and the rise of Asia on the global stage”. The Ministers also resolved to work together to combat piracy.
Comment: The annual Australia-UK Ministerial consultations are known by the acronym AUKMIN. The 2012 discussions were held in a particularly cordial atmosphere with the Foreign Secretary thanking the Australians for the “friendship and intellectual rigour” which they brought to the discussions. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/05, 30 Jan 12)
26 Jan 12. The European Commission has sent the German and Dutch governments a letter warning them to take action to comply with an EU defense procurement law within two months or face potential fines. In a statement issued Jan. 26, the commission says it is “concerned that
[Germany and the Netherlands] have failed to fulfill their commitments under the Directive (2009/81/EC) regarding procurement of arms, munitions and war material (and related works and services) for defense purposes, and also the procurement of sensitive supplies, works and services for security purposes. “While the majority of the member states have either fully implemented the Directive or are finalising the adoption of transposing measures, in these two member states — Germany and The Netherlands — all of the Directive’s provisions still have to be implemented and the transposition process is very slow,” the commission states. The deadline for implementing the rules in question was Aug. 20. The commission’s request to Germany and the Netherlands takes the form of a reasoned opinion — the second step in an EU infringement procedure, and one that may lead to the countries being fined if they take no action. (Source: Defense News)
29 Jan 12. French aircraft maker Dassault has made a new offer to Switzerland for its Rafale fighter jets after the government decided in November to buy Sweden’s Gripen planes instead, according to a Jan