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08 Jul 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Between 1 Oct 12 and 1 Jun 13, 625 vehicles were returned to the UK with another 300 ready to make the trip.
Eventually, 2,720 vehicles will have been sent back to the UK. (Defence Focus, July 2013.)
Land Rover spares and 50 Leyland DAF four-ton trucks are to be gifted to Uzbekistan, as part of the drawdown from Afghanistan. (House of Lords, 8 Jul 13.)
The construction and operating costs of bases in Afghanistan for the seven financial years from 2006/07 are £655.8m. (Written Answer, 10 Jul 13.)
The next roulement of UK Forces in Afghanistan is due to take place in October 2013 (OP HERRICK 19). Around half of the deploying units will form Task Force Helmand under the command of 7th Armoured Brigade. The other half will deploy within Helmand and to other locations in Afghanistan. The current force level of about 7,900 is due to reduce to around 6,000 in Autumn 2013 and then to 5,200 by the end of 2013. (Written Statement, 10 Jul 13.)
Comment: As already announced, some elements of 7th Armoured Brigade will deploy on OP HERRICK 19 for up to eight months. 7th Armoured Brigade’s planned replacement formation is 20th Armoured Brigade. The House of Commons Written Statement by the Defence Secretary on 10 Jul 13 includes considerable detail about the next roulement of Forces in Afghanistan.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/28, 15 Jul 13)
09 Jul 13. Libya: Armed Forces’ Training. The Foreign Secretary delivered a Written Statement to the House of Commons on 9 Jul 13, entitled Libya (Bilateral Support). Given that the G8 nations have offered to train over 7,000 troops to assist the Libyan Government, the UK is offering to train up to 2,000 Libyan personnel as its part of the commitment.
Under current plans prepared by the MoD, up to 2,000 Libyan Armed Forces personnel will be brought to the UK in a series of smaller groups. British Army personnel will train the Libyans in basic Infantry skills and Junior Leadership at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire. The Libyan Government has agreed to pay for the training.
Comment: A subsequent Written Answer (12 Jul 13) acknowledged that costings were not yet available for the training, but would be produced “once further planning has been conducted”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/28, 15 Jul 13)
08 Jul 13. British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT): New Feasibility Study. A Foreign Office Minister announced (8 Jul 13) the Government’s intention to commission a new feasibility study into the resettlement of BIOT. As the Minister pointed out: “Successive British Governments have
consistently opposed resettlement of the Islands – on the grounds of both Defence and feasibility.”.
Comment: As is now being admitted by Foreign Office Ministers, the British treatment of native Chagossians (or Ilois) has been “clearly wrong”. In 1966 the UK agreed with the US to make the BIOT available “for the Defence purposes of the two Countries”. There are now some 2,000 US Service personnel in Diego Garcia and about 40 from the UK, mostly Royal Marines. The Commander of British Forces is a Commander RN. An excellent guide to BIOT and the other Overseas Territories was published by the Foreign Office on 28 Jun 12, as Command 8374 for £29:75.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/28, 15 Jul 13)
10 Jul 13. Syria: Government Position. As expressed by a Foreign Office Minister in the House of Lords (10 Jul 13): “The UK remains supportive of any action that seeks to end the violence and achieve a political solution in Syria, however our priority remains advancing a political transition that ends the conflict, allows refugees to return to their homes and prevents furthe