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9 Feb 2006 : Column 1399W—continued

Vandalism

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the acts of vandalism which have been perpetrated (a) inside and (b) on the outside of his Department's buildings in the last 12 months. [49511]

John Healey: There have been none.

Vehicle Excise Duty

Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many vehicle excise duty payments were made in each of the last six weeks for which figures are available in each local authority area in North Wales. [46068]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply.

Figures according to local authority area are not available by Local authority. Information could be provided for the North Wales area, but only at disproportionate cost. Work is underway to gauge the level of vehicle re-licensing in the North Wales police force area during the period of their recent operation to tackle untaxed and uninsured vehicles.

DEFENCE

Afghanistan

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria he uses to judge the success of (a) the peacekeeping mission and (b) the counter-narcotics operation in Afghanistan. [42991]

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the key aims are of the deployment of troops in Afghanistan. [42792]

John Reid: Our aims in Afghanistan are: democratic government that can maintain the rule of law and deliver basic services; a sustainable security environment where the population is free from coercion; a viable legitimate market economy that is increasingly able to support basic social needs and reduce poverty; and a sustainable decrease in poppy cultivation and drug trafficking. The extent to which Afghanistan's own Ministries can meet these objectives themselves forms the basis of our criteria for success.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he expects the recent deployment of British troops to Afghanistan to result in reduced opium production in that country. [48797]

John Reid [holding answer 6 February 2006]: Counter-narcotics (CN) operations are the responsibility of the Government of Afghanistan. UK forces deployed under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) can provide training and operational support to Afghan counter-narcotics forces, and they contribute to the broader counter-narcotics 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.

While there remains a risk that opium cultivation may increase again this year, our goal is to ensure that the downward trend in cultivation seen in 2004–05 is
 
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maintained in the long term. We are working with the Government of Afghanistan and other international partners to ensure delivery of this goal.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what funds his Department has provided to support training of the Afghan army and police force in each year since 2002; and if he will make a statement; [45163]

(2) what preparations have been made by his Department to build Afghan national army and police capacity with a view to transferring responsibility for security in Afghanistan to the indigenous forces; and if he will make a statement. [45168]

John Reid: The US is the G8 lead nation for developing the Afghan national army (ANA), and 27,000 Afghan soldiers have been trained under their auspices. Over 60,000 policemen have been trained by the German-led police reform programme.

The UK has assisted training by providing resources and assisting ANA capacity building within the US-led effort, including NCO training for the ANA and, from April 2006, junior officer training for the ANA. The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has also provided two civilian advisers to work with the Afghan MOD to help build its capacity, and there are Afghan cadets at Sandhurst.

The UK Ministry of Defence does not contribute funds specifically to ANP training, although financial support has been provided by the global conflict prevention pool, which is jointly funded and administered by MOD, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development. This breaks down as follows:
£ million
ANAANP
2002–03:590,000
2003–04:1.252.5
2004–05:3.51.5

In addition, the UK has provided senior police advisers based at UK-led provincial reconstruction team and UK forces deployed under the NATO-led international security assistance force (ISAF) help provide the secure environment in which police reform can take place. The UK's provincial reconstruction team in Helmand will include police reform experts, and UK troops will work closely with the ANA as they take on an increasing responsibility for security in the Province.

The ISAF has a key role to play in facilitating the development of both the ANA and ANP, enabling them to operate with greater and more co-ordinated effect, thereby bringing security and stability to the entire country.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many NATO-trained and deployed Afghan combat troops there are; and if he will make a statement. [45162]

John Reid: So far 27,000 Afghan troops have been trained by the US-led programme for the development of the Afghan national army (ANA). This programme
 
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is supported by the UK and other nations. The UK is providing NCO training and from April the UK will also support junior officer training in Kabul. The NATO-led international security assistance force (ISAF) is not part of this programme. However, British forces as part of the ISAF will assist with the training and mentoring of Afghan army units in Helmand Province. The Afghan Minister for Defence recently estimated there were now 34,000 soldiers, NCOs and officers in the ANA.

Chemical Defence Establishment

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which research programme at the Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down is designed to contribute to the understanding of Parkinson's disease. [48585]

Mr. Touhig: The remit of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Dstl, at Porton Down is to provide the UK and its armed forces with safe and effective countermeasures against chemical and biological warfare agents. Thus, Dstl is not currently involved in research into Parkinson's disease, nor has any previous work been undertaken in this area.

However, the research that Dstl undertakes in the marmoset model for other applications could potentially have some relevance for research groups working on Parkinson's disease. The results of the research undertaken by Dstl are, wherever possible, submitted for publication in the open peer reviewed scientific literature and presented at open scientific conferences.

Commemorative Badges

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many 1945–55 commemorative badges have been issued in (a) each local authority area and (b) each constituency. [46072]

Mr. Touhig: This information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
 
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Cruise Missiles

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Tomahawk cruise missiles have been (a) purchased for and (b) launched by the Royal Navy in each year since 1997; and how many Block IV Tomahawk cruise missiles are due to be purchased. [49648]

John Reid: The total number of Tomahawk Cruise Missiles purchased for the Royal Navy in each year since 1997 is shown in the table as follows:
Total number of missiles purchased
199748
199817
19990
20000
200120
20020
200322

In addition, 64 Block IV Tomahawk cruise missiles are currently on order.

I am withholding the information on Tomahawk launches as this could enable deductions to be made on current stockpiles, which could be prejudicial to national security.

Defence Medical Service

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) current strength levels of (i) trained anaesthetists, (ii) trained general surgeons, (iii) burns specialists and (iv) general medical practitioners in the Defence Medical Service was (A) on the last date for which figures are available and (B) in 1997. [48779]

Mr. Touhig: The following table shows the required and actual strength levels in the Defence Medical Services of the above four specialties as at January 2006 and April 2000:
January 2006
April 2000
SpecialtyRequiredActualRequiredActual
Anaesthetists764412030
General Surgeons36214419
Burns Consultants65102
General Medical Practitioners270260440210



Note:
Figures above 100 have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
DMSD


Records prior to April 2000 have been archived and could not be obtained within a reasonable time scale, and may have been destroyed. I will write to the hon. Member to either provide the 1997 figures, or confirm their earlier destruction and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many residents of (a) each county and (b) each constituency in North Wales have received a veteran's badge. [47998]

Mr. Touhig [holding answer 2 February 2006]: This information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. 523 residents from North Wales have received veterans badges since April 2005, but prior to this date records were not kept geographically.


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