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Mr. Tom Harris: The miles per casualty (moving annual average) in the period prior to the start of Stagecoach South Western Trains 07/11 (January 2007) for the Class 458s was 14,817 with six units in service.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether all NATO member states with forces serving in Afghanistan recognise the same international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan for military operations. 
Des Browne: All contributing nations to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan agree to be bound by the definition of the joint area of operations contained within the operational plan. Consequently the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is viewed consistently by all these nations.
Des Browne: There are currently around 42,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of ISAF. British forces deployed in Afghanistan currently number approximately 7,800. We do not comment on the numbers of deployed troops from other nations, which are matters for the countries concerned; however they are listed with periodic updates on the ISAF website at:
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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has conducted any review of the procedures governing to operations of private security companies in Afghanistan since 2001. 
Des Browne [holding answer 15 November 2007]: The MOD operates according to the cross-government Guidance on Contacts with Private Military and Security Companies, as published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in February 2007. The MOD currently is reviewing the application of this guidance within Defence. The MOD has not carried out any reviews into the procedures governing to operations of private security companies in Afghanistan. Currently, the MOD does not employ any private security companies in Afghanistan.
Des Browne: UK forces carry out a range of outreach projects around the Kandahar airfield that are designed to improve local infrastructure and public health. These vary in size and scope and include the provision of blankets to villages and escorting medical and dental personnel to local villages. Further activity, such as painting of mosques, installation of water pumps and drainage and irrigation projects are planned up until the end of March 2008.
Des Browne: We constantly assess the threat to our aircraft operating in Afghanistan and utilise tactics, techniques and procedures suitable for the threat. I am withholding further information as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I am withholding the information relating to Afghanistan as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. The UK does not have any Apache helicopters deployed in Iraq.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters of each type were deployed in Afghanistan in each month since 1 January 2002; what additional deployment of (a) Sea Kings and (b) other helicopters is planned for 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Information on the type of helicopters deployed each month prior to January 2006 is not held centrally. I am withholding the number of helicopters deployed as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. The following table sets out, by month, the helicopter types deployed in-Theatre from January 2006 to December 2007.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department uses (a) civilian and (b) military personnel during the take-off and landing phase of unmanned aerial vehicles operations in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence uses both civilian contractors and military personnel during the take-off and landing phase of unmanned aerial vehicles; however, the vast majority of operators are military. Once airborne, all operational mission activity is conducted by military personnel.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Of ficial Report, column 304, on Afghanistan, what capabilities Sea King helicopters would have in Afghanistan. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 304, on Afghanistan, what plans his Department has to recruit and deploy specialists who speak Afghan languages and understand tribal dynamics. 
Des Browne: The MOD is already using specialist linguists in support of its operations in Afghanistan and we expect to increase the number deployed over the coming months. In addition to specialist linguists, considerable use is made of local employed civilians in a linguist role.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Statement by the Prime Minister of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 304, on Afghanistan, how many of his Department's personnel serve in the collocated headquarters. 
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