Read this in the Torygraph, thought it pretty much summed things up at the mo. Sympathies go out to all of the fine Infanteers who have spent months on standby, only not to go in the end... It is a little long but is worth a read. Afghanistan stretches the red and green lines too thin By John Keegan (Filed: 19/03/2002) THE announcement by Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, in the Commons yesterday that 45 Commando and supporting elements are to join an American brigade to take part in operations against remaining Taliban and al-Qa'eda fighters demonstrates that the Afghan days of the war on terrorism are not over. The decision to send the troops makes it clear that Operation Anaconda, the joint American-Afghan operation designed to mop up Islamic forces in south-east Afghanistan, has not wholly succeeded and that an extra push is required. It is also clear that the Pentagon is keen to have British troops involved and has accepted at face value the Prime Minister's assurances of Britain's wholehearted support for the United States in the anti-terrorist war. The dispatch of 45 Commando, together with parts of 32 Commando Brigade's artillery regiment and combat engineers element, leaves Britain's national rapid-reaction force thinly stretched. Its two main components are the Air Assault Brigade, largely drawn from the Parachute Regiment, and the Commando Brigade. Part of the Parachute Regiment has recently been deployed in Afghanistan, and now needs a rest, while the other parts are committed to operations nearer home. Sending 45 Commando abroad leaves only two sister commandos in Britain, while the Air Assault Brigade now has only two infantry battalions immediately available for duty. Their associated artillery, engineers and logistic units are also over-stretched. Mr Hoon has recently indicated his intention of committing more of the Army's non-specialist strength to the emergency role. That is entirely to be welcomed. The recent tendency of the Ministry of Defence to turn automatically to the airborne and commando forces to fulfil emergency overseas operations has risked the creation of a "two-tier" army, in which all high-profile tasks are passed to the wearers of maroon and commando berets - "the red and green machine", as it is sometimes called - and the steady regiments of county infantry and footguards are consigned to mundane duties in Northern Ireland and other peacekeeping sectors.