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02 Apr 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The UK’s military headquarters in Helmand was disbanded on 1 Apr 14. The functions of Headquarters Task Force Helmand were subsumed into the wider, US-led, Regional Command (South West). Task Force Helmand has included soldiers from the Bosnian, Danish, Estonian, Jordanian and Tongan Armed Forces. UK troops will continue their mission in central Helmand until the ISAF mission is closed at the end of 2014. (MoD, 2 Apr 14.)
The Defence Secretary announced that the next roulement of UK Armed Forces is due to take place in June 2014. Around half of the units deploying will come under command of a UK one star (i.e. the Brigade Commander of 20 Armoured Brigade) within the US Marine Corps Commanded Headquarters. The remainder will deploy elsewhere within Camp Bastion and in Kandahar and Kabul. This will be the final phase of OP HERRICK. (Written Statement, 2 Apr 14.)
AFGHANISTAN: INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE (ISAF) TROOP CONTRIBUTING NATIONS (TCN) AS AT 1 APR 14
United States 33,500
United Kingdom 5,200
Korea (RoK) 50
Czech Republic 250
El Salvador 13
New Zealand 2
It should be noted that the above totals are approximations and actual numbers change daily.
Comment: Regional Command (South West) (RC (SW)) is a coalition force which includes some 5,000 US Service members, 4,500 of whom are US Marines. A further 5,000 are from Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Jordan, Tonga, the UAE and the UK. The ISAF ‘drawdown’ continues, led by the US with a further reduction of 4,500 to 33,500. Singapore completed its contribution to ISAF on 22 Jun 13 and Canada on 31 Mar 14. (Some ISAF documentation gives a total of 51,178 as at 1 Apr 14, which is incorrect. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/15, 07 Apr 14)
04 Apr 14. Ukraine: Travel Still Restricted. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues (4 Apr 14) to advise against all travel to Crimea and all but essential travel to the Eastern Regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk. Russian Forces and pro-Russian groups have established full operational control in Crimea. Flights in and out of Simferopol Airport are subject to disruption, with some services suspended.
Comment: The situation in Ukraine was discussed by NATO Foreign Ministers on 1/2 Apr 14 and by their European Union counterparts on 4 Apr 14. Questions about Ukraine were asked in the House of Lords (1, 2 & 3 Apr 14) and the political situation was debated on 3 Apr 14 (Hansard Column GC 308 et seq). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/15, 07 Apr 1