Monday, 1 November 2010
The futility of war has claimed the life of another British soldier. He was shot dead will defusing an IED.
The fatality occurred in the Nahr-e Saraj North district of Helmand Province and where the soldier's regiment, the 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) are deployed.
We have now lost 342 of our armed forces in this war.
Only last week it was reported Russia were onside with NATO in an effort to curtail the Afghan drugs trade. Now Karzai is complaining the joint American and Russian raid on four laboratories in Nangahar province on Thursday was unsanctioned and violated Afghan sovereignty. Moscow officials said they were baffled by the angry response, maintaining the operation had taken place with Kabul's knowledge.
What a complete mess. Now the Afghan president is threatening the countries who his government asked for help.
Although our Prime Minister is reluctant to discuss Afghanistan, tomorrow he will happily outline plans for military co-operation between us and the French which will see troops from both countries deployed as a single brigade in future conflicts. The first step will be a joint exercise in Flanders which is to be followed by more training together with the aim of deploying troops 'alongside each other', in the words of one government source.
David Cameron will also make clear that Britain and France will stop short of full integration because there will be times when the interests of Paris and London diverge. France strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq.
What does this mean for our armed forces? One thing is sure, they will never be truly independent again. We are now building aircraft carriers for the French to use, because we have no aircraft of our own which are suitable to use them and this new alliance with France integrates our military even further into the Military of the European Union. It's a step too far.