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Defence Forces Deployment

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 6 November 2014

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Questions (111)

Seán Crowe


111. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence if Irish Defence Forces personnel are still working in Afghanistan; and whether, considering the British decision to remove its troops from the country, he has plans to withdraw Irish troops from the country. [42644/14]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 5 July 2002. Since then, the Government has reviewed and approved, on an annual basis, the continued participation by seven (7) members of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF.

On 25 June 2013, the Government agreed to continue to provide seven members of the Permanent Defence Force for service with ISAF for a further period from July 2013, subject to ongoing review by the Minister for Defence. The seven (7) personnel currently serving with the force are all located in ISAF HQ, Kabul and work in staff appointments in planning and administrative roles.

In March 2011, the transition process whereby the Afghan security forces would gradually take on more security responsibility from ISAF was launched. On 18 June 2013, the final phase of the transition was instigated. This process is due to be completed at the end of December 2014, when ISAF’s mission will end. NATO will then lead a follow on training and support operation called Resolute Support Mission with effect from 01 January 2015.

Defence Forces participation in all overseas missions is reviewed on an ongoing basis. The overall drawdown of ISAF personnel is currently underway and the withdrawal of the Defence Forces personnel will be coordinated in this context. Irish personnel will complete their service with the mission in December 2014.

The proposed NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, post 2014, will be a follow on training advisory and assistance mission in support of the Afghan National Security Forces capacity. The question of Ireland contributing to the follow on mission in Afghanistan is currently being considered in the context of what other contributing countries are planning. Any participation by Ireland in the follow on training mission will be subject to Government approval.