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Afghanistan: Explosive Devices

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th June 2011.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to improve the way in which the United Kingdom deals with improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan.

Photo of Lord Astor of Hever Lord Astor of Hever Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Success in Afghanistan is the highest priority in defence and countering the improvised explosive device (IED) threat is critical to making military progress in the campaign. We are completely focused on taking action to defeat this threat. We have deployed a counter-IED (C-IED) task force with the capability to detect, disable and exploit these devices and prevent them being laid. All troops receive comprehensive C-IED-specific training before they deploy to Afghanistan. A range of technologically advanced equipment is in service to counter the threat, including protected vehicles, remote control vehicles, ground surveillance, detectors and body armour. Enhancements to other critical capabilities-including military working dog capability-are being introduced. In addition, unmanned aircraft system capability has been significantly enhanced, and will be enhanced further, providing real time intelligence to track and target those who manufacture and plant IEDs.

The range of C-IED skills, equipment, training and other capabilities employed by our Armed Forces in Afghanistan are widely recognised as being better than ever before; they are improving the safety of our forces-always our first concern-and improving their operational effectiveness. We will continue to invest in this area.

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