Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Army 'just' coping in Afghanistan

The BBC reports Sir Richard Dannatt as saying:

The new head of the British Army, Sir Richard Dannatt, has warned that his soldiers can only "just" cope with the demands placed on them by ministers.

Speaking before 14 personnel were killed in Afghanistan, he told the Guardian troops "are fighting at the limit of their capacity".

Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells said he did not think that the British Army was overstretched.

Meanwhile, one UK soldier was killed by a suspected suicide bomber in Kabul.

Gen Dannatt, who took over from Sir Mike Jackson last week, said: "We are running hot, certainly running hot.

"Can we cope? I pause. I say 'just'."

Since Sir Richard has to get along with his new political master and has typical British understatement a little bit of translation is needed here - my understanding of what he says is this:
Things are very serious. The army is over stretched, under and poorly equipped and unable to maintain this level of effort with out serious consequences soon.

Other bloggers like EU Referendum have been going on about this for some time. Reporters return from being with our troops Afghanistan glad to be alive and fuming about government pronouncements. Now what Dr Reid said about how peaceful this task would be is being respun.

The only people who can make this government wake up are Labour MP's. As they are the only ones the government can't ignore. They must act and the Conservative opposition must hold them too it.

See also Robert Fox in The First Post today who starts by saying - Too few forces, too little support and too little time. This is war on the cheap.

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