News Brief – July 10, 2009
Eight British soldiers were killed Friday during operations against the Taliban in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.
Their deaths bring the total number of British servicemen killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of July to 15.
News of the latest casualties came as Gordon Brown was attending the G8 summit in Italy.
In a statement on Thursday, a seemingly emotional prime minister insisted yesterday that Britain would not change its strategy.
"We knew from the start that defeating the insurgency in Helmand would be a hard and dangerous job, but it is a vital one," he said.
In a gesture that cynics might say was meant to appease mounting public anger over operations in Afghanistan, Mr Brown praised the "incredible professionalism, courage, bravery and dedication" of the soldiers involved.
Although the prime minister said operations in Afghanistan were necessary for Britain’s securty he didn’t elaborate on exactly how.
Nor did he explain why opium production was now at record levels – after the Taliban had all but shut down the drugs trade in Afghanistan, before they were overthrown by the US and Britain.
Casualties have mounted steadily since this most recent offensive against the Taliban began. The first was the death of Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, the highest ranking British soldier to be killed since the Falklands conflict.
The deaths of the eight today were the single heaviest daily death toll since the Falklands War, over 25 years ago.
The latest deaths have also brought into question the level of Brown’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan.
It has been suggested that the government turned down a request from the Army to send an additional 2,000 troops earlier this year ahead of next month's elections, limiting reinforcements to an extra 800.
It's thought that this was done to avoid alienating potential voters. In other words the government jeopardised the army’s fighting prowess ln order to win over potential voters.
So apart from helping open up the drugs trade from Afghanistan, the ruling Labour Party has put its soldiers there at risk to garner extra votes.
Cynical or what?
Last updated 12/07/2009