#1
Give the Army more money or lose lives, warns Gulf War colonel

7th August 2006




Gulf War veteran: Colonel Tim Collins

The funding of British forces in Afghanistan needs a "radical rethink", a former colonel said today as the latest soldier to be killed in the troubled country was named.

Private Andrew Barrie Cutts, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was killed in Musa Qualeh in the northern Helmand province of the country yesterday afternoon.

He was part of the 13 Air Assault Support Regiment involved in a pre-planned action by UK forces against the Taliban when he was killed. The Royal Logistics Corps, which is based in Colchester, Essex, has been deployed in Afghanistan since last month.

Pte Cutts is the 10th British soldier to be killed in the country in the last two months.

Today, Colonel Tim Collins, one of the most senior officers in Iraq in 2003, warned that British forces in Afghanistan needed more support from the Government.

"I think the armed forces have really backed themselves into a corner," he told GMTV. "They have allowed themselves to become too small.

"They have lost their voice in government, no-one is listening to them in government.

"Someone needs to stand up for the armed forces and say enough is enough. They need to be properly resourced and properly funded.

"Servicemen and women need to be looked after."

Col Collins said soldiers were working in temperatures reaching 50C (122F) and were involved in constant combat.

"The guys are doing a great job, but it is a sprint the whole time," he said. "They are at a high pressure, humans can only take so much.

"The guys are wearing heavy kit and are in constant contact with the enemy."

Col Collins said the head of the Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, was right when he said UK forces were "getting stuck in" to the Taliban, but added: "We are getting stuck in with too few troops."


British soldiers are the world's best.

He went on: "The Army is at risk at the moment. There will be more casualties, we have got to face that."

Col Collins dismissed former Defence Secretary John Reid's comments last April that British troops could leave Afghanistan "without firing a shot".

"This is a shooting war and it needs to be properly resourced. If we are going to win, it needs the full backing of the nation and the Government," he said.

"A radical rethink of how we fund our forces in Afghanistan needs to be looked at. This isn't going to be over by Christmas. We are going to be there for a number of years in Afghanistan."

Pte Cutts was shot when Taliban fighters attacked a mission to re-supply an outpost in Musa Qualeh - the same area in which three other soldiers were killed on Tuesday.

Captain Drew Gibson, British military spokesman in Afghanistan, said the mission itself, which involved hundreds of troops backed by helicopters, was successful.

He said it was part of the wider Operation Snakebite, launched yesterday by British forces in the area.

In the encounter with insurgents, he said "quite a few" Taliban were killed, although there were no exact details.

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement: "The immediate aim of the operation was to disrupt Taliban command and control in Musa Qualeh along with their ambush sites and logistics operations.

"Our short-term aim is to dominate the Musa Qualeh area. In the longer term we seek to create conditions that will enable the Afghan National Army and Police to assume increased responsibility for the towns' security."

Defence Secretary Des Browne offered his personal condolences to the dead soldier's friends and family.

Yesterday, the Sunday Telegraph reported that soldiers in Afghanistan were on the "brink of exhaustion", with 700 troops bearing the brunt of heavy fighting against the Taliban and 25 major battles fought since May.

Commanders reportedly wanted the 3,600-strong force to be supplemented by another 1,000-strong infantry battle group, over and above the extra 900 soldiers recently committed.
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* Where are the French? There are even GERMAN soldiers out in Afghanistan, but not as many as Britain has. Holland and even Canada has soldiers. I think it's time the cowardly French but a few of theirs in as well.

dailymail.co.uk