British military chief admits troops smug and complacent in Afghanistan

January 30th, 2009 - 7:16 pm ICT by ANI  


London, Jan 30 (ANI): Britains top military commander has admitted for the first time that Americans were right to criticise the way in which British troops carried out counter-insurgency operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan when they were first deployed to Helmand province in 2006.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff and a former head of the RAF, blamed commanders for being smug and complacent about the challenges they faced in Helmand.

His words echoed accusations made by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and several senior American military officers who claimed that their British counterparts spent too much time boasting about their experiences in Northern Ireland, The Times reported.

The Air Chief Marshal warned that such differences must not be allowed to fracture and disintegrate the cohesion of the allies fighting the Taliban.

We will have some capacity, if required, to provide more forces for Afghanistan, but it will be a limited capacity, Sir Jock Stirrup said.

You are only as good as your next success not your last one, he told The Economist magazine, accepting there had been a degree of complacency within the Army.

The Ministry of Defence last night rejected claims in the interview that his comments described the naivety of British troops in Afghanistan.

Sir Jock had referred to conduct in Iraq, the MoD said. (ANI)

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