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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

House of Lords Hansard Written Answers for Wednesday 22 May 2013

Armed Forces: Afghanistan

Asked by Lord Empey: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what equipment they intend to donate to the Government of Afghanistan upon withdrawing combat troops from that jurisdiction in 2014.[HL96]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As UK operations in Afghanistan draw down, operational commanders are identifying on a case-by-case basis the equipment and materiel that is no longer required. Once identified as surplus, a decision is made on whether to gift, sell, destroy or redeploy the equipment. In some cases we will not redeploy equipment or materiel because it is beyond economic repair or does not represent good value for money to return it to the UK. Any gifting of equipment or materiel that takes place will be co-ordinated with the NATO Training Mission—Afghanistan (NTM-A) to ensure that it can be sustained by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in terms of cost of ownership, support and enduring training. All proposals for gifting equipment will also of course follow parliamentary, HM Treasury and National Audit Office rules and will be assessed against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria. Any proposed gifting packages to the ANSF over £250,000 will be laid before Parliament at the appropriate time.

Asked by Lord Dykes: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to bring forward the withdrawal of United Kingdom military forces from Afghanistan. [HL321]

Lord Astor of Hever: In accordance with the strategy agreed at the NATO Lisbon summit in 2010, UK and ISAF forces will continue to operate in a combat role, albeit a reducing one, until the end of 2014. We remain firmly committed to the strategy and timescales agreed at Lisbon and to the principle of “in together, out together”. As the Prime Minister stated during the Queen’s Speech, troop levels will have reduced to 7,900 by the end of May and will have reduced to around 5,200 by the end of 2013. Our drawdown will continue to be managed in line with the steady progress of the Afghan National Security Forces taking the lead for security across Afghanistan.

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for Tuesday 21 May 2013

Guided Weapons

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about SPEAR (3) in relation to (a) Typhoon and (b) F35. [156513]

Mr Dunne: SPEAR Cap 3, an air-to-surface capability for the joint strike fighter (JSF), is currently in its assessment phase. As part of SPEAR Cap 3 development onto JSF there is a requirement to trial and demonstrate the missile on a similar platform. Typhoon will be used for these trials.
Syria

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the UK has provided any (a) internal security training, (b) public order training and (c) sniper training or training in the use of heavy military equipment to Syria since President Bashar al-Assad came to office. [156010]

Mr Robathan: The UK has not provided any specific internal security training, public order training, sniper training or training in the use of heavy military equipment to Syria since President Bashar al-Assad came to office in July 2000. The small number of Syrian personnel who attended initial officer training and staff courses between 2000 and 2008 will have been exposed to UK doctrine on these topics.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration the Defence Exports Support Group has given to lifting restrictions on exports of (a) lethal and (b) non-lethal military equipment to Syrian opposition groups. [156014]

Mr Dunne: The Defence Export Support Group has not met recently, however, Ministers consider, through the National Security Council and its sub-groups, important export issues. The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate at an ever more rapid pace. Since the ou

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