British soldier killed by Taliban
ITV.com – August 6,2006
Embattled British forces in Afghanistan have suffered their tenth fatality in two months as it was claimed they were "on the brink of exhaustion".
A soldier was shot when Taliban fighters attacked a mission to re-supply an outpost in Musa Qala in the lawless Helmand province.
Militants attacked troops outside the village, which is in the same area where three other soldiers were killed on Tuesday.
Captain Drew Gibson, British military spokesman in Afghanistan, said the re-supply mission itself was successful. Asked if it was a Taliban stronghold, Capt Gibson said it was no more troublesome than other parts of the region.
He said: "I think you'll find that there are quite a few places that the Taliban operate out of in northern Helmand."
The Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the soldier's next of kin were being informed. "It is with regret that we can confirm that a member of the UK Armed Forces has been killed in action this afternoon during ongoing operations against insurgent positions in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan," the statement said.
The death of the latest soldier came as the head of the Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, defended Britain's military strategy in Afghanistan and told BBC News 24 that UK forces were "getting stuck in" to the Taliban.
But a senior officer told the Sunday Telegraph that British soldiers in the country were "on the brink of exhaustion".
"This is a situation which is ultimately unsustainable. The shock of battle, the lack of sleep and back-to-back operations are beginning to impact on the troops," the officer said.
Commanders reportedly want the overall 3,600 force to be supplemented by another 1,000-strong infantry battle group, over and above the extra 900 soldiers recently committed.
Last updated 08/09/2006