Britain to deploy 125 more troops in Afghanistan after heavy casualty

July 25th, 2009 - 2:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban London, July 25 (ANI): Britain has been forced to deploy 125 extra troops on the front line in Afghanistan even as the Chief of the Defence staff warned that more lives will be lost, after 19 troops died fighting the Taliban this month. The Telegraph quoted the British Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth, as saying that commanders in the field have asked for 125 extra troops following the “tragic casualty rate” since the launch of Operation Panther’s Claw, aimed at clearing a Taliban stronghold in Helmand.

“These additional troops will ensure we have sufficient troop levels and, crucially, the right specialist skills in theatre. Many of our brave young men have died fighting to protect our national interest in Afghanistan and I will not allow their sacrifices to have been in vain,” he said.

The decision was announced as Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said soldiers taking part in the Operation Panther’s Claw offensive had faced an “enormous battle.”

“It has been very tough, very hard fighting because Helmand is for the Taliban their vital ground. They are very, very unwilling to give it up. This is a tough military campaign, it is far from over. We will continue to lose people to improvised explosive devices and to other means,” he said.

The announcement of extra soldiers comes soon after Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army, returned from Afghanistan with a “shopping list” of what was needed to successfully fight the counter-insurgency campaign.

The Government has been severely criticised over the last fortnight for failing to supply enough helicopters for the force of 9,000 troops and refusing the defence chiefs request for an extra 2,000 troops.

A company from the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, that had originally been scheduled for deployment in Iraq this summer before the campaign ended there, will now be sent to join the men of 19 Brigade who the MoD said had been engaged “a number of high intensity operations”.

They will also be joined by more bomb disposal experts to counter the growing sophistication and number of Taliban IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that have been responsible for 80 per cent of deaths this month. (ANI)

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