27 Mar 12. Afghanistan: A Telephone Tale. A most unusual debate took place in the House of Commons on 27 Mar 12, under the title Foreign Secret Intelligence and State Secrets Privilege. Introduced by a Conservative member, Mr David Davis, the story started in 1998 when the Taliban Government decided that Afghanistan needed a new telephone network. Various security agencies became involved in the venture, as acknowledged by a Foreign Office Minister in closing the debate.
Comment: The debate is recorded in Hansard for 27 Mar 12, starting in Column 1442. The tale told by Mr Davis is quite extraordinary and a fascinating story: truth really is stranger than fiction.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/14, 02 Apr 12)
Mar 12. Foreign Affairs Committee: Reports. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee is to publish two Reports during the Easter Recess. UK-Turkey Relations and Turkey’s Regional Role is to be published on Wed 4 Apr 12 and the FCO’s Departmental Annual Report 2010-11 is to be published on Fri 13 Apr 12. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/14, 02 Apr 12)
House of Lords Written Answers for Monday 26 March 2012
Armed Forces: Aircraft
Asked by Lord West of Spithead: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how airborne early warning will be provided to the fleet following the retirement of Sea King 7s in the early 2020s, and throughout the 50-plus years of the new aircraft carriers’ service.[HL16215]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): An announcement on the Ministry of Defence’s future equipment programme will be made shortly.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Monday 26 March 2012
Amber Rudd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role UK troops will play in Afghanistan after 2014; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond: By the end of 2014, UK forces will not be serving in Afghanistan in a combat role and there will not be anything like the number of British troops that are there now. However, we are clear that our long-term commitment to Afghanistan will last well beyond 2014. As part of our enduring legacy we have already made a commitment to UK troops supporting the development of the Afghan national security forces by providing training at the new Afghan national army officer academy. No further decisions have yet been made about any other longer-term residual presence. It is likely that some troops will remain in a non-combat role for a period of some months after completion of security transition at the end of 2014 to finalise our logistics draw-down.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made on plans for the withdrawal of UK armed forces from Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond: As the Prime Minister has said, UK force levels in Afghanistan will reduce from 9,500 to 9,000 by the end of 2012. By the end of 2014 British troops will no longer be in a combat role and will not be in Afghanistan in anything like the numbers they are now.
The Prime Minister has made clear that there should not be a “cliff-edge” reduction to our force levels in 2014. Planning continues, in conjunction with ISAF allies, to consider our force trajectory through to the conclusion of transition at the end of 2014. The UK and the international community are committed to Afghanistan for the long term, and some UK troops will remain after 2014. The UK has already committed to a long-term training role with its leadership of the Afghan national army officer academy.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role UK troops will play in Afghanistan after 2014; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd).
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defen