Christina writes: At last the truth is emerging and at lat the Tory party – in the shape of Liam Fox – has spoken out. The Sunday TIMES doesn’t carry the story or indeed on searching its site anything about the fighting in Afghanistan at all!!! To such depths have the British press sunk.
In MY continuing contacts with Liam Fox I have just written.
I was delighted to read your robust comments in the Sunday Telegraph today. It needs shouting from the rooftops that Blair is betraying our troops - and only for a sound-bite!
The reported story of the Marine attack this week - WHICH THEY LOST THROUGH LACK OF EQUIPMENT. - is a dreadful warning.
I only wish that that gutless spineless creep who poses as the Conservative leader had also said it, as the hacks are generally lazy and, as leader, he commands more attention than any shadow minister.
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Many thanks for telling the facts as they are. Keep it up - please.
Sunday Telegraph 21/01/2007
Frontline troops are refused kit to fight Taliban
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent,
British soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan have had dozens of urgent requests for operational equipment turned down on cost grounds, it can be revealed.
Demands by officers for attack weapons and vital tools, as well as night-vision equipment and thermal-imaging devices used to distinguish friend from foe, have all been refused by the Ministry of Defence.
The revelation has sparked accusations that Tony Blair has reneged on promises he made to British troops just four months ago, when he pledged that commanders would be supplied with whatever they needed to "get the job done".
The Sunday Telegraph has learned that all four of the Army's mine protected vehicles (MPVs), used to extract injured troops from minefields in Afghanistan, have broken down. Officers have also complained that the shortage of Chinook helicopters, first raised by senior officers last summer, was still a fundamental problem for commanders in Helmand province, where 4,500 British troops are fighting the Taliban.
During an interview on British Armed Forces Radio last October, the Prime Minister said: "If commanders on the ground want more equipment – armoured vehicles, for example, more helicopters – that will be provided. Whatever package they want, we will do."
Mr Blair went further in a newspaper article, stating: "[British forces] will get, I promise, whatever frontline commanders tell us they need to complete their job."
But MPs and senior officers accused the Prime Minister of betraying Britain's armed forces.
Liam Fox, the Tory shadow defence spokesman, said: "This shows every promise made by Tony Blair to our troops was utterly untrue. This is a complete betrayal by this Government of all of those who risk life and limb for this country's security. It will disgust the British people that Blair's spin so callously puts our frontline troops at risk." Just a week ago this newspaper disclosed that the first official report into the war in Afghanistan stated that commanders had insufficient troops and too few helicopters and that the mission was lacking political direction.
Commanders regard the MPV as one of the most vital pieces of equipment in Afghanistan, where more than 10 million mines lie primed after 20 years of war.
Since last June two servicemen have been killed in mine explosions and three have been seriously injured.
One source revealed that the farthest the MPVs have travelled outside Camp Bastion in Helmand was just one mile. Another officer said that troops from Estonia and Denmark who were working alongside the Royal Marines were better equipped and had more reliable armoured vehicles than did British troops.
The officer said: "Tony Blair promised the troops anything they needed. Well, we need four more MPVs and we haven't got them; we need more night-vision equipment; and we need more troops."
Another source described the situation in Afghanistan as "farcical". He said there were reports of specialist soldiers such as engineers and signallers being flown by helicopter to remote out-stations to perform a "two-hour job" and being stranded for a week because of the helicopter shortage