Britain to send more key-skill troops to southern Afghan

#1
The Times
June 16, 2008

Britain is to send more key-skill troops to southern Afghan provinces

Michael Evans, Defence Editor
More than 200 additional specialist troops are to be sent to Afghanistan to boost Britain’s military presence to 8,000, the Ministry of Defence will announce today.

The 230 hand-picked troops are all engineers, logistics specialists and experts in military training who will be assigned to help in the development of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

The reinforcements will be announced in the House of Commons. The extra troops are being selected individually for their specialist skills and will come from a number of different units.

The troop presence in Afghanistan has been about 7,800 for some time, most of them serving in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the south. The extra 230, bringing the total to more than 8,000, will all be deployed to the south and are expected to leave for Afghanistan over the next few weeks.

Britain already has teams of trainers working with the Afghan National Army. Initial instruction is provided at Camp Tombstone, near the main British base at Camp Bastion in central Helmand. British instructors are then deployed with Afghan units to fight the Taleban in different parts of the province.

The deployment of more specialists to Afghanistan is part of the revised strategy announced by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, in October under which greater effort is being put into development and reconstruction in Helmand.

The Royal Engineers being sent as part of the 230 will be involved in reconstruction projects.

Meanwhile the number of parcels being sent to troops in Afghanistan has doubled in 12 months since the free-parcel service for the Armed Forces was announced last year, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday.

The parcels have to be sent to a named soldier to benefit from the free delivery.

In another development, the MoD refused to comment on newspaper speculation that Mr Brown had intervened to stop General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, from being promoted to Chief of the Defence Staff because of his outspoken public statements about conditions and pay in the Army.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the present Chief of the Defence Staff, is not due to retire until next year and could be asked to extend his appointment. “There is no end-tour date for Sir Jock Stirrup,” the MoD said.

A battalion commander shot in Afghanistan has become one of the highest ranking British soldiers injured in the conflict, it was revealed yesterday.

Lieutenant Colonel David Richmond, commanding officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg during fighting in war-battered Helmand Province.

Colonel Richmond, 41, was leading his troops on Thursday against the Taliban near the town of Musa Qala when he was struck down by an enemy bullet, according to reports.

The soldier, who has served in Northern Ireland and Iraq in 22 years with the Army, will be flown to the UK for treatment at the royal centre for defence medicine at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.

It is not known how serious the injury is.

An Army spokesperson said: “I can confirm that the incident took place in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

“Colonel Richmond will receive appropriate medical care when he is back in the UK at Selly Oak Hospital.”

The commanding officer was in charge of around 550 troops from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the 5th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The soldiers, based at Howe Barracks in Canterbury, Kent, formed part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade during their deployment in war-torn Afghanistan.

They were stationed at a number of base camps across the south of the country, including Forward Operating Base Delhi, where Prince Harry was settled for several weeks.
 
#2
I would just like to personally thank all of the British troops and there family's for the sacrifices they are making in Iraq and Afghanistan. Your sacrifices are not in vane and your service is very appreciated by all of your brothers and sisters in arms in the United States Military. Thank you and God bless!
 
#3
Thanks for your kind words 'U.S.Paratrooper'.

I too hope and pray that your gallant Servicemen and women have not died in vain.

Sadly, on both sides of the Atlantic we are governed by men and women, most of whom have never served for a single day. Their 'experience' and 'idea' of war is, take no offence, based almost entirely on what they have observed in Hollywood films!

On the thread topic, I am surprised we have any left to send.
 
#4
Well, they haven't managed to find me yet....
 

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