Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Defence written question – answered on 14th September 2009.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the journalist Michael Yon is no longer embedded with British armed forces in Afghanistan.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Secretary of State for Defence

Opportunities to embed with Task Force Helmand are in high demand from across the media-national, regional, print, broadcast, specialist and new media. It is not possible to meet all requests and slots must be time-limited to ensure that the opportunities are shared as widely as possible. A normal embed for a national news organisation will last on average around two to three weeks, including time for travel.

Michael Yon had been embedded with British forces on a number of occasions before his recent visit-twice in Iraq in 2007, and once in Afghanistan in 2008. His latest embed had been scheduled to last for two weeks but it was extended to take account of delays to his arrival.

In all, his stay was extended twice and he was embedded for five weeks-much longer than is normally the case, and longer than had been agreed with him before he went. He was facilitated by British forces in a number of locations and given a high level of access both to the operations and to our personnel. At the end of this five-week period Task Force Helmand ended his embed as they were no longer able to support it given their other commitments, including other media visits.

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Anthony Parker
Posted on 19 Sep 2009 12:25 pm (Report this annotation)

Is it possible to explain what the other commitments were that changed after the five week embed was concluded,or which other media was involved?


A Parker