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NEWS IN BRIEF

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26 Mar 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Sergeant from the Royal Marines and a Lance Corporal from the Adjutant General’s Corps were shot and killed at the main entrance to Lashkar Gah Main Operating Base, by an Afghan National Army soldier, on 26 Mar 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 407, of whom 367 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 26 Mar 12.)
“The UK and the international community are committed to Afghanistan for the long term and some troops will remain after 2014. The UK has already committed to a long-term training role with its leadership of the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.” (Written Answer (WA), 26 Mar 12.)
“Both the US and the UK are committed to the strategy agreed at the Lisbon summit in 2010 and which NATO Defence Ministers reaffirmed on 2 Feb 12.” (WA, 27 Mar 12.)
The UK and Afghanistan agreed (29 Mar 12) to continue their Defence relationship long beyond the end of operations in 2014, with the signing in Kabul of a Statement of Intent by the Defence Secretary and his Afghan counterpart. Details of the Afghan National Army Officer Academy were agreed. The Defence Secretary’s engagements in the Afghan capital followed a visit to British troops in Helmand Province. (MoD, 29 Mar 12.)
The outgoing British Ambassador to Afghanistan and the Deputy Commander of ISAF conducted a media briefing by video link from Kabul (30 Mar 12). The full draw down projection is not yet finalised, but the figure of “about 9,000” troops for Autumn 2012 was confirmed.
Comment: ‘The Wall Street Journal’ reported (26 Mar 12) that the US authorities have paid $50,000 to relatives for each fatality in the 11 Mar 12 shooting ‘rampage’. $11,000 was also paid for every injured villager.
A conference on ‘NATO and EU long-term commitment to Afghanistan’ was held at the European Parliament on 27 Mar 12. The message to be taken to the NATO Summit in Chicago on 20/21 May 12 is that “NATO and the EU will remain engaged in Afghanistan up to 2014….and well beyond that date.”.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/14, 02 Apr 12)

29 Mar 12. 1990 Gulf Campaign: Mortality Rates. The MoD continues to monitor mortality rates from OP GRANBY (1 Sep 90 to 30 Jun 91) and to compare them with a control group. Figures for the period from 1 Apr 91 to 31 Dec 11 have now been published (29 Mar 12). 1,283 of those who served in OP GRANBY died during the period, compared with 1,364 from the control group. The study also concludes that approximately 2,191 deaths would have been expected in a similar sized group of individuals from the UK’s general population of the same age and gender profiles.
Comment: The mortality rates from the 53,409 personnel who served in OP GRANBY are compared to those of a control group (known as the ‘Era cohort’). The control group is made up of personnel of a similar size, age, gender, Service, Regular/Reservist status and rank who were not deployed to the Gulf in 1990/91.
In a Written Answer on 18 Oct 11, the Personnel Minister referred to the “substantial amount of research into Gulf veterans’ illness” which has been undertaken in the UK and the US. The research has indicated that there is no illness which is specific to Gulf veterans. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/14, 02 Apr 12)

16 Mar 12. Spain moves to settle Eurofighter debt. Spain is preparing to start paying offits outstanding debts relating to the Eurofighter programme after the cabinet approved a EUR309m (USD403m) payment at its meeting on 9 March. While no further details were given, the amount owed last October was reported at the time by then EADS chief executive Louis Gallois to have reached some EUR750m. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

28 Mar 12. The Danish government has launched an effort to support defense industry export

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