Helmand: Too few forces, too little support

Defense expert Robert Fox raises questions about the adequacy of the support and number of troops the Government has provided for the British military task in Afghanistan following the death of another British soldier in Afghanistan this morning, and the crash on Saturday of the RAF Nimrod.

The First Post

"The plan was to establish security and stability, to allow Afghan farmers to take up alternatives to growing poppies. In an unfortunate aside, John Reid, then Defence Secretary, said British troops might even leave the region three years hence "without a shot being fired".

"Since his words were uttered, millions of British rounds have been fired and, in the past three months, 30 servicemen have died, including the man killed this morning by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

"All the signs are of a massive failure of intelligence and understanding, political as well as military. The government wanted to do the job on the cheap; under £1bn was allocated to crack the worst drug-producing area in the world. They provided too slender forces, too little support, and allowed too little time; the timetable of beating the narco-lords of Helmand in three to five years has shifted from Pollyanna-optimistic to plain ludicrous."

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