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17 Jul 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 30 Jun 12, 1,949 personnel were Wounded in Action and 5,939 were aeromedically evacuated. (DASA, 17 Jul 12.) For June 2012, the figures were 26 and 107.
A self-sufficient Afghan Air Force (AAF) with manpower of 8,000 and 145 aircraft by 2017 is being developed. AAF manpower is currently about 5,580, with 97 aircraft. (Written Answer (WA), 13 Jul 12.)
617 Squadron has handed over Tornado GR4 Operations at Kandahar to 2 Squadron. Sentinel R1 aircraft of V Squadron provided over 45 hours of radar reconnaissance and analysis while Reaper aircraft of 39 Squadron delivered over 280 hours of full motion video during the past week. (RAF Ops Update, 15 Jul 12.)
By mid-2013, all parts of Afghanistan will have begun transition and the Afghan Forces will be in the lead for security nationwide. (WA, 16 Jul 12.)
The Prime Minister arrived in Helmand Province (18 Jul 12) for a tour of Camp Bastion, Nad-e Ali and Lashkar Gah. The Prime Minister reiterated: “I’m confident we can bring the British troops home as I promised by the end of 2014.”. (Number 10, 18 Jul 12.)
The Services assisted in the return of 843 artefacts from the British Museum to Kabul, almost 20 years after they were stolen and smuggled abroad. The two tonne cargo was transported to Camp Bastion by a C-17 and then on to Kabul in a C-130 aircraft. (MoD, 19 Jul 12.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary published (16 Jul 12) the 19th Progress Report on developments in Afghanistan, as a Written Statement in the House of Commons. The Report was also published on the
FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/29, 23 July 12)

16 Jul 12. Northern Ireland: Security Situation. The Northern Ireland Secretary delivered (16 Jul 12) his second update on the security situation in the Province. The threat level in Northern Ireland remains at ‘Severe’ (meaning that an attack is highly likely) while the threat level in Great Britain is ‘Substantial’ (meaning that an attack is a strong possibility). While the overall threat levels remain the same, however, progress has been made. The excellent work of the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) and other partners tackling the current threat has led to some considerable successes in recent months, according to the Statement.
Comment: The Northern Ireland Secretary presented his security update as a Written Statement to the House of Commons. The Statement concludes: “….this Government remains committed to tackling the terrorist threat in Northern Ireland.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/29, 23 July 12)

19 Jul 12. The British Armed Forces have returned 843 artefacts from the British Museum to the Afghan capital Kabul, almost 20 years after they were stolen and smuggled abroad. The precious cargo, weighing just over two tonnes, left RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, last week (12 July) after the British Museum and the Royal Air Force worked together to make the historic repatriation possible. Travelling onboard a C17 transport aircraft, the material was first transported to Camp Bastion, the main military base in Helmand. After a short stop, it took off again on the second leg of the journey, on a C130 Hercules aircraft, to Kabul. The artefacts, some of which went missing from the National Museum of Afghanistan during civil war in the country, and others from more recent illegal excavations of archaeological sites, have now all been safely returned and a selection will go on display in the near future. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, confirmed their safe arrival in a press conference, alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The objects include items made in three separate seizures by customs officials as they were being smuggled into the UK, as w

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