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Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the strength of the Afghan National Army is; what the expected rate is of annual increase in manpower; and what assessment his Department has made of what additional armaments will be required in order to meet the target of a fully functioning Army with a strength of 70,000 personnel by 2010. 
Over 27,000 Afghan troops have been trained at the Kabul Military Training Centre, and the Afghan Minister for Defence recently estimated there were now 34,000 soldiers, NCOs and officers in the
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Afghan National Army. The future growth of the Afghan National Army, and the equipment it may require, are a matter for the Government of Afghanistan and the United States, as the G8 Lead Nation responsible for assisting the Afghans to rebuild their Army.
John Reid: Troops deployed under international security assistance force (ISAF) are able to arrest and detain by virtue of the authorisations permitting use of all necessary measures to fulfil its mandate contained in, most recently, UNSCR 1623 (2005), and by agreement with the Government of Afghanistan. ISAF policy is that individuals should be transferred to the Afghan authorities at the first opportunity and within 96 hours or released.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many troop-carrying movements were made by air in Afghanistan in 2005 in aircraft which were not fitted with defensive aids systems; how many such movements are expected to be made in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
John Reid: The United Kingdom's six Harrier GR7 aircraft are commanded by the UK Air Component Commander. The aircraft routinely support the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the US-led Coalition Forces Command (Afghanistan), according to operational priorities. The GR7s operate under UK Rules of Engagement at all times.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Foreign Secretary and (b) Secretary of State for International Development regarding the linking of the military deployment with (i) political engagement and (ii) development efforts in Helmand Province, Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
John Reid: I have regular discussions with the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development regarding the Government's plans to participate in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Stage 3 expansion, and will continue to do so.
Any UK deployment to Helmand is predicated upon a fully integrated military and civilian plan designed to improve security, build local Afghan capacity, address the problem of narcotics and improve development opportunities working closely with the Governor and his team. Planning has been co-ordinated across Government including these three Departments. The UK's preliminary operations team, which comprises military, FCO, DFID and PCRU members, continues to refine plans for UK activity in the province.
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John Reid: Counter-narcotics (CN) operations are the responsibility of the Government of Afghanistan. The UK is the lead G8 nation for counter narcotics assistance in Afghanistan. UK forces deployed under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Helmand will contribute to the broader CN effort by providing the secure environment in which the rule of law can be applied, reconstruction can take place and legal rural livelihoods can be developed.
Under NATO's operational plan for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, UK forces under ISAF provide, within means and capabilities, training and operational support to Afghan CN forces. They do not have a direct role in targeted interdiction operations or in eradication of opium poppy in the fields.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many qualified pilots for the Apache AH Mk1 helicopter there were (a) on the last date for which figures are available and (b) in 1997. 
Mr. Ingram: As at January 2006 there were 100 qualified pilots, with a further 15 due to be fully trained in April 2006 following their successful completion of a conversion to type training course. There were no trained pilots in 1997 as the Ministry of Defence did not take delivery of the Apache Mk 1 until 15 March 2000.
Mr. Ingram: The establishment for Apache pilots is 217. As at January 2006, there are 100 trained Apache pilots, with a further 15 pilots due to be fully trained on Apache aircraft in April 2006, following their successful completion of the current conversion to type training course.
The Army Air Corps is approximately halfway through the conversion programme to the Apache helicopter. The current establishment and ongoing training of pilots and engineers is in line with this conversion programme.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of each of the three services he expects to be (a) serving abroad and (b) deployed on front-line duties between 24 December 2005 and 2 January 2006; and what percentage of the trained strength of each service each of these figures represents. 
[holding answer 16 December 2005]: The following table gives the numbers of personnel deployed on operations and the numbers serving overseas (but
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not on operations) at 14 December 2005. The figure did not rise significantly over the Christmas period, however staff taking leave may have caused both numbers to fall.
The number of personnel categorised as serving overseas, but not on operations" remaining away from the United Kingdom over the Christmas period was likely to be significantly smaller, as personnel in Germany and Cyprus for example, may have chosen to take their leave back in the UK. Some personnel deployed on operations will have taken rest and recuperation (R+R) during this time and the figures do not reflect these temporary fluctuations.
The percentage for trained strength is based on a total that includes regular forces and the regular and volunteer reserves. The figures do not include individuals liable for recall in a crisis, university or cadet forces.
|Service||Number deployed on operations||Number serving overseas not on operations||Total||Percentage of trained strength|
|Royal Air Force||2,768||2,506||5,292||5.3|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will break down the (a) main estimate, (b) winter supplementary estimate and (c) spring supplementary estimate Request for Resources 1 provision for each of his Department's top level budget holders by (i) direct resource departmental expenditure limit (DEL) and (ii) indirect resource DEL for financial years 19992000 to 200405. 
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