Skip to comments.More Troops Will Go To Afghanistan (UK)
Posted on 07/06/2006 7:14:29 PM PDT by blam
More troops will go to Afghanistan
By Neil Tweedie
Britain is to reinforce its military contingent in southern Afghanistan following the deaths of six troops in clashes with the Taliban and other armed groups over the last month.
Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, said he was considering what reinforcements to send as a "matter of urgency" after being advised that they were necessary following fierce fighting in the lawless province of Helmand, a centre of resurgent Taliban activity.
Pte Damien Jackson
The announcement will increase concern that the Government is succumbing to "mission creep" as it seeks to impose order on a remote and hostile region, and prevent its use as a terrorist base.
Mr Browne told MPs: "I can now confirm that I have received advice on additional deployment and I am considering it as a matter of urgency with the chiefs of staff. I will announce my decision and the details of it to the House as soon as possible."
There are already some 5,000 British service personnel in Afghanistan as part of a Nato-led stabilisation force, and reinforcements are likely to include more infantry backed by more attack and transport helicopters. Currently, there are only some 600 British combat troops in Helmand, one of the world centres of heroin production which has few good roads and is almost as big as Scotland.
The announcement in the Commons yesterday was followed by the naming of the sixth soldier to die in combat in the province, Pte Damien Jackson, of 3rd Bn Parachute Regiment.
The 19-year-old paratrooper from South Shields, Tyne and Wear was killed on Wednesday when his foot patrol was ambushed in the town of Sangin. He would have celebrated his 20th birthday this weekend.
His father Daniel said: "We fully support the British Army in Afghanistan whilst in no way supporting or condoning a Government policy which has placed our young men and women in such dreadful danger."
Ministers have been forced to defend themselves from the accusation that they seriously underestimated the threat to the British contingent in Helmand from the Taliban and local groups reliant on opium poppy growing.
In an attempt to silence criticism, Mr Browne warned those who questioned the purpose and wisdom of the British operation that they were putting British lives at risk by handing the Taliban a propaganda advantage.
"Anybody who doesn't understand that, is getting perilously close to being guilty of criminal negligence," he said.
Reinforcing 16 Air Assault Brigade, the main British formation in Afghanistan, will further strain an Army already suffering overstretch as a result of its commitments in Iraq and elsewhere.
I find it hilarious that the British press tries to hype the impossibility of the British mission by saying "an area as big as Scotland."
I have noticed these and other oddly small geographic areas the last month trying to promote hopelessness among the British public.
Good. I hope they clean up the (sub)human debris. A hundred scum per man would be a good start.
The way he puts that, makes it sound very unconvincing.
Thank you, Great Britain.