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NEWS IN BRIEF

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15 Sep 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Sergeant from the Light Dragoons was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj District on 9 Sep 12. A soldier from
1st Bn Grenadier Guards was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj District on 14 Sep 12. Both fatalities occurred when vehicles struck Improvised Explosive Devices. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 428, of whom 388 were killed as a result of hostile action. (MoD, 15 Sep 12.)
In the week to 8 Sep 12, Sentinel R1 aircraft provided almost 90 hours of radar reconnaissance and analysis while Reaper aircraft delivered 280 hours of full motion video and Tornados mounted reconnaissance missions and carried out eight Shows of Force. (RAF Ops Update 8 Sep 12.)
Members of the Royal Military Police have been advising members of the Afghan Uniform Police in a range of skills. (MoD, 12 Sep 12.)
The Defence Secretary visited Afghanistan, where he received an update on Operations. As well as key Afghan figures, Mr Hammond met a number of senior British and ISAF Officers. The visit concluded with meeting a wide range of military personnel at Camp Bastion. (MoD, 13 Sep 12.)
In a media interview, the Defence Secretary re-stated why UK Forces are in Afghanistan and “the tangible progress they are making”. The Defence Secretary acknowledged that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the US “because they constitute the overwhelming bulk of the Force”. (MoD, 14 Sep 12.)
The US side of Camp Bastion was attacked by the Taliban on 14 Sep 12, resulting in the death of two US Marines. (BBC News, 15 Sep 12.)
Comment: The International Development Secretary presented the quarterly review of progress in Afghanistan to the House of Commons. The review is recorded in Hansard for 13 Sep 12, starting in Column 439. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/36, 17 Sep 12)

13 Sep 12. U.K. Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, has paid a visit to Afghanistan where he received an update on operations on the ground, as the UK prepares to reduce its force levels in the country by 500 troops. As 12th Mechanized Brigade begin the process of heading home, to be replaced by 4th Mechanized Brigade as the lead UK military formation in Helmand, Mr Hammond met military personnel approaching the end of their six-month tours and listened to their views of progress on the ground. The Defence Secretary also met troops from 4th Mechanized Brigade transiting through the Gulf on their way to deploy to Helmand. They will oversee the start of the British drawdown in Afghanistan, sending 500 personnel home by the end of the year, as announced by the Prime Minister in July 2011. During his visit, Mr Hammond took the opportunity to discuss the issue of so-called “green on blue” or “insider threat” attacks with senior Afghan figures. Beginning his visit in the capital city Kabul, Mr Hammond met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and the country’s acting Defence Minister Enayatullah Nazari. As part of wide-ranging discussions about the UK’s ongoing role in Afghanistan and future relationship with the country, Mr Hammond sought and received assurances that the Afghan government and military are doing everything possible to tackle the issue. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to which the UK is the second-largest contributor, has itself taken a number of steps to mitigate the threat. And Mr Hammond was briefed on measures which the Afghans have adopted, including the:
* issue of a Presidential Decree by President Karzai mandating that Afghan National Army recruits are to be interviewed by a four-person council consisting of Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, National Directorate of Security and medical department officials;
* doubling in size of the Afghan Ministry of Defence’s counter

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