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21 Jan 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. 901, 902, 903 & 904 Expeditionary Air Wings (EAW) were active during the most recent reporting period
(5-11 Jan 13). 903 EAW recorded 3,700 aircraft movements during the period. (RAF Ops Update, 21 Jan 13.)
No decisions have yet been taken on what, if any, equipment platforms will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. (Written Answer (WA), 21 Jan 13.)
British Forces are to reduce from 9,000 to around 5,200 personnel by the end of 2013, as transition of security control to the Afghan National Security Forces progresses. (MoD, 24 Jan 13.)
Elements of 1st Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment supported a major Operation by Afghan Forces in Lashkar Gah and Nahr-e Saraj. The Battalion Battle Group is due to complete its return to the UK in April 2013. (MoD, 24 Jan 13.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary published the 23rd progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. The Report is recorded, as a Written Statement, in ‘Hansard’ for 22 Jan 13 and can also be found on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/05, 28 Jan 13)
18 Jan 13. Mali: Continued Support. The Armed Forces’ Minister said that the UK has provided two C-17 aircraft to provide logistical support to the French. Approximately 100 personnel were deployed to France, including C-17 air and support crew. A small team is also based in Bamako. (WA, 18 Jan 13.)
A Foreign Office Minister confirmed that the UK is to continue to lend two C-17 aircraft to the French and “will be looking at other transport and surveillance assets that we can offer”. (WA, 22 Jan 13.)
There are currently no plans for the UK to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to Mali. (WA, 24 Jan 13.)
A Sentinel R1 aircraft deployed from RAF Waddington to an airbase in Africa on 25 Jan 13, in support of French military Operations in Mali. (MoD, 25 Jan 13.)
Comment: The Foreign Office Minister for Europe attended the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union on 17 Jan 13. A Council decision was taken to establish an EU military mission for the training of the Malian Armed Forces (EUTM Mali). The Minister’s Written Statement can be found in ‘Hansard’ for 22 Jan 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/05, 28 Jan 13)
13 Jan 13. Algeria: House of Commons Debate. The Prime Minister made a Statement (21 Jan 13) in the House of Commons “on the despicable terrorist attack in Algeria and the tragic events of the last few days”.
Comment: The Debate is recorded in ‘Hansard’ for 21 Jan 13, starting in Column 25. Discussion ranged beyond Algeria to include Mali (Item 2) and wider security considerations. Any British contribution to the EU training mission for Mali “would be in the tens, not in the hundreds”. The Prime Minister also alluded to a re-balancing of the Armed Forces “to focus on those threats to our security that we face today: an investment in key intelligence capabilities and greater investment in Special Forces, cyber-security and the things that will have the maximum impact on keeping our people safe.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/05, 28 Jan 13)
22 Jan 13. The Commonwealth: Government Response to Report. The Government published (22 Jan 13) its response to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Report on The Role and Future of the Commonwealth. The Government welcomes the Committee’s Inquiry and the findings set out in the Report, claiming that it is committed to strengthening ties with the Commonwealth. The Government also believes that “a strong Commonwealth is important to future prosperity and the national interests of all its Member States….”.
Comment: “The Government response welcomes the Committee’s support for our poli