Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Too Heavy A Price
Eighteen hours of the past twenty four must have been hell for the families of those serving in southern Afghanistan.
Yesterday, around noon, the media reported there had been three fatalities in the region, but no further details were provided by the NATO PR machine.
As the south is mainly patrolled by British troops - and most military families know the battalions and squadrons out there - it was expected those killed would be British. In fact they served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The MoD did not confirm the loss until after 5am this morning. Can you imagine the fear which ran through families' minds from noon yesterday for 18 hours? When such an incident happens the communication network shuts down and families in the UK are unable to contact their loved ones. They just have to sit and wait, fervently hoping nobody knocks on their door, until a further announcement is made. Their hopelessness is palpable. I suspect many mothers whose sons are deployed in Helmand right now, had little or no sleep. Sadly three may not sleep well for many years.
In the Mastiff thee were two crew and eight troops. Nothing has been reported about the other casualties but I suspect all were seriously injured. Five Afghanis were also killed in the attack, while in another attack in the south of the country - a roadside bomb in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province - killed three civilians and wounded five.
We are losers in this war. We've lost 444 of our armed forces now and will possibly lose more as the Taliban up their strategies in the knowledge that our troops are pulling out next year. Meantime our government will continue to send more troops.
Once the troops leave Afghanistan will return to its wretched state. Supposedly we went in an attempt to stabilise the country but that has failed. We have paid too heavy a price.