» Monday, June 14, 2010


Put that the Prime Minister had said that the threat level from the Afghan/Pakistan border region had diminished and were there any updated statistics, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that the Prime Minister had been advised that the relevant threat level had been reduced.

On whether this was significant, the PMS replied that it was significant in that the Prime Minister reported it to the House and was very keen to give the House regular updates on what was going on. The Prime Minister wanted to provide some granular information about what was going on, on the ground so people could see where we were making progress.

Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to Sir Jock Stirrup, the PMS said that the Prime Minister spoke to him regularly and saw him during his visit to Afghanistan. The point the Prime Minister was making in the House was that his tenure had been extended prior to the election to ensure that there was continuity.

When asked if the previous Government had overestimated the threat from the Afghan/Pakistan region, the PMS replied that he was not in a position to quantify the statement made by the Prime Minister; he was reporting on the latest information.

Asked whether the UK was facing the same amount of threats but from different places or less plots in total, the PMS said that the Prime Minister was focussing on this region as that was where we were seeking to deal with al Qaida and referred people back to the statement.

On whether there had been a formal change to the threat level, the PMS said that he would come back to people on the point of threat levels if there was any more information.

Asked if the Prime Minister saw the reduction of the threat level as a vindication of the previous administration’s strategy, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had been clear that the strategy that we were employing was the McChrystal strategy. The strategy had been in place for six months and we were committed to the full 18 months. Asked if the Government was committed to the extent that the UK would review force numbers in December like President Obama and perhaps reduce them next July, the PMS said that clearly there was a review point in December and the Prime Minister had made clear over the last few days that he wanted to be actively involved in that process.

Asked if a reduction in troop numbers would come from the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) or from the review in December, the PMS replied that comments on troop reduction were made by the Defence Secretary in the context of the SDR. Any announcement on that would come when the SDR process was concluded.

Asked whether the two things were related, the PMS said that the SDR was about the UK’s broader capability and what would be happening to Defence in this country in the longer term. There was some relationship between those two factors but they had different focuses.

original source.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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