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21 Jun 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Tactical Air Transport detachment flew over 90 hours (between 8 and 21 Jun 14) on air mobility tasks. The aircraft moved over 252 tonnes of freight and more than 1,500 passengers. (RAF, 24 Jun 14.)
The UK and international partners are committed to providing long-term support to the Afghan Government….subject to the necessary legal permissions being in place before the end of this year. The UK is
also contributing an additional £70m per year until 2017 towards Afghan National Security Force sustainment. (Written Answer, 25 Jun 14.)
“The United Kingdom will continue to play a strong and committed role in supporting the Government of Afghanistan to build a more peaceful and prosperous future for all Afghans.” (UK Ambassador to the
UN Security Council on Afghanistan, 25 Jun 14.)
NATO Foreign Ministers and their counterparts from ISAF partner nations met the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister. The Ministers completed operational plans for the launch of a NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan Security Forces after 2014. (NATO, 25 Jun 14.)
The Foreign Secretary announced publication of the 38th progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. The report recorded the closure of the Sterga 2 Observation Post and that UK Forces in
Helmand are now only based in Camp Bastion. (Written Statement, 26 Jun 14.)
Comment: The MoD Press Office reacted to a report in ‘The Sun’ newspaper (27 Jun 14) suggesting that the UK is leaving ‘the minimum acceptable’ number of troops in Afghanistan and is ‘cutting and running’ from the
Country. According to the MoD: “The UK drawdown is being made in line with Operational security imperatives and threat and risk assessments, including from insurgent attacks.”. The UK will also continue to support the Afghans militarily through the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/26, 30 Jun 14)
23 Jun 14. Kuwait: Joint Steering Group. The fourth meeting of the biannual Kuwait-UK Joint Steering Group took place in London on 23/24 Jun 14, chaired by the UK Minister of State for the Middle East & North Africa and the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait. As officially stated: “Both sides set out a clear goal of strengthening Kuwait-British ties and defence engagement, including military equipment and training.”.
Comment: The Joint Steering Group was set up during the State Visit by the Amir of Kuwait which took place from 27 to 29 Nov 12. The Group is expected to reconvene in Kuwait City in six months time. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/26, 30 Jun 14)
24 Jun 14. Gulf Partners: Defence Secretary’s Visit. The Defence Secretary visited the Gulf (24/25 Jun 14) in order to discuss the threat ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) poses to Iraq and the region as a whole. Mr Hammond met the Foreign and Defence Ministers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the first day of the visit and with similar Ministers from Kuwait and Qatar during the second day. The meetings were said to “demonstrate the UK.s commitment to the security of Gulf Countries”. The Defence Secretary said that both he and the Foreign Secretary were looking at ways to help the Iraqi Government, “for example with counter-terrorist expertise”.
Comment: In a television interview during his visit the Defence Secretary said that all four Saudi States shared a problem with those fighting in Iraq and Syria, particularly the latter, and the difficulty of weapons falling into the wrong hands. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/26, 30 Jun 14)
26 Jun 14. Type 26 Frigate: Export Prospects. In a Written Answer (26 Jun 14), t