Saturday, 22 May 2010

Afghanistan Command Changes

A Royal Marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines, serving as part of Combined Force Sangin, was killed in Afghanistan yesterday.

He was conducting a joint foot patrol with the Afghan National Army to reassure and improve the security for the local population near Patrol Base Almas in Sangin, Helmand Province.

The death toll of our armed forces in Afghanistan has now risen to 286.

This weekend Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, intends to visit Afghanistan where eight thousand British soldiers are to be place under the control of the US in a major restructuring of NATO forces. The southern region of Helmand province, where troops currently take their orders from British General Nick Carter, is to be divided into two.

Major General Gordon Messenger, a British military spokesman, said: "This command and control change makes complete sense and is welcome. The span and complexity of the command challenge in southern Afghanistan has increased enormously in recent months and these changes provide the best command support to the troops on the ground." He said it was 'simply not the case' that the announcement meant the UK was handing its responsibilities to the Americans.

Kandahar, which has become the insurgents' stronghold, is to be the focus of the next military objective - another reason for the split. NATO says operations over the next few months in the area will be of critical significance to the future of Afghanistan.

In a significant shift from Labour's foreign policy, Liam Fox said that Britain was not a 'global policeman' and emphasised that the mission in Afghanistan was about making British streets safer rather than sending Afghan girls to school.

I look forward to hearing what he has to say after his fact finding visit, with William Haig, this weekend.


Wyrdtimes said...

Brit mercenaries under foreign control without actually getting paid. The whole thing stinks to high heaven as far as I'm concerned.

Joe Public said...

The British population will never forget that it was the politicians, safely ensconced in their offices at Westminster, who sent our troops to risk their lives.

The MPs however could only grumble at having to pay out of their own pockets for a taxi fare home before 11:00pm because of perceived 'risks' in London.

Such courage.

subrosa said...

It does stink Wyrd. Although I know little about modern command situations, this takeover by the US has been rumoured for a few months. Originally the US wanted us to move to Kandahar (where the insurgents have taken over) and the US troops would take over the now less dangerous Helmand.

Glad to see that idea hit on the head but I'm not at all happy to see a situation developing like Iraq where the US were in charge of UK troops.

subrosa said...

The problem is the politicians don't have any penalty to pay Joe. Each and every soldier does to some degree.

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