Jul 10. NEW INQUIRY: OPERATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN. The Defence Committee is today announcing the first of two major inquiries into Afghanistan. The first inquiry will have an operational focus and will examine progress in Afghanistan within the Afghanistan and Pakistan strategic framework including relationships within NATO and with the USA. It will examine the success of: military operations in providing security to local nationals; the stabilisation and reconstruction work of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, and will examine the efficacy of the training of the Afghan National Security Forces. It will also consider the provision of support to the UK Armed Forces including equipment and logistics. The second inquiry, to be announced in September, will examine the context for a political settlement in Afghanistan. NATO Forces, including UK Armed Forces, have been in Afghanistan since October 2001. In May 2006, the Government deployed UK Forces to Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan as part of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The security situation in Helmand remains fragile. The coalition led by the USA adopted a new strategy in late 2009 based on the counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy recommended by General McChrystal. Following this change in strategy, UK Forces have been reinforced in Helmand by troops from the USA. There are 9,800 UK troops in Afghanistan out of a total ISAF force of some 119,500 personnel. As at 26 July 2010, a total of 325 British personnel have died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.
The Committee is particularly interested in:
• the justification for the continued participation of UK Armed Forces withi
ISAF and the success of the Government in communicating this to the UK public;
• the success of military operations in Helmand including the timetable for the
planned withdrawal of combat troops and the sustainability of the current level of deployment;
• the success of stabilisation and reconstruction efforts including the work of the UK led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand;
• the issue of civilian casualties and the transparency of their reporting by ISAF;
• the efficacy of the training of the Afghan National Security Forces; and
• the support for operations including the timely provision of appropriate equipment, in particular, in terms of communications, logistic support, counter-IED measures, helicopters, force protection and the air bridge.
Recognising the importance of support to Service personnel and their families, the Committee intends to carry out a separate inquiry into such issues and to revisit its predecessor’s Duty of Care Report later in this Session. The Committee expects to take oral evidence on operations in Afghanistan during Autumn 2010. The Committee would welcome written evidence to this inquiry which should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Monday 13 September 2010.
Jul 10. Parliamentary and Political: Timetable. Parliament is to rise on 27 Jul and return on 6 Sep 10. Parliament will then rise again on 16 Sep and return on 11 Oct 10. The Liberal Democrat Party Conference is to be held in Liverpool from 18 to 22 Sep 10; the Labour Party Conference in Manchester from 26 to 30 Sep 10 and the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham from 3 to 6 Oct 10. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/29, 26 Jul 09)
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Monday 19 July 2010
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what unmanned defence equipment is (a) in use, (b) in development and (c) under consideration for future use; and what the cost to the public purse was of each type of equipment programme on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence has many different types of unmanned defence equipment in use, in development and under consideration for future use. Owing to t