A long way from Chelsea to Afghanistan

I walk past the Duke of York Barracks to get from the office to the tube station. I remember this area when it was home to 10th (Volunteer) Battalion the Parachute Regiment, The London Irish and a number of other TA units. I suspect that a number of the soldiers who were once based there are currently in Afghanistan.

A sunny afternoon surrounded by shops and “beautiful” people is a world away from what those same soldiers are going through in Helmand and yet I don’t think that the people that were walking past today have any understanding of just how different. And neither do many members of the Labour government that sent them there.

There seems to be an undercurrent of surprise in the quote from the MOD, “a carefully set ambush”! It is almost as if the spokesman didn’t feel that it was reasonable for these fighters to be well organised or careful in their attempts to kill our boys.

The Taliban fighters that the 3 Para battlegroup are up against are led by people who have had decades of experience fighting the Russians over this very same ground our guys are better, I have no doubt of that, but their enemy is a highly experienced and motivated force.

There has been a trend to ask the Armed Forces to do more and more with less and less. We have got away with it and I fear that it is now becoming habitual. We either need to radically rethink what we are asking our troops to do in Afghanistan or we need a significant reinforcement.

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