Brown Holds His Ground as Troops Die
Posted on Jul 13, 2009
Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended his government’s policy in Afghanistan after eight British soldiers were killed over the weekend. In the past two weeks, 15 U.K. servicemen have died, making the total death toll for British military personnel in Afghanistan greater than the Iraq toll, 179. As a result, Brown and his ministers have been under increasing criticism by the MPs.
Gordon Brown today delivered a robust defence of government policy in Afghanistan amid signs that the cross-party consensus on the issue is starting to break down.
In a statement to the Commons, the prime minister said that helicopter capacity in Afghanistan had almost doubled over the last two years and that commanders on the ground were satisfied that they had the manpower they needed.
But David Cameron, the Tory leader, said that in reality there had been “no increase in helicopter capacity at all” because the number of troops in Afghanistan who needed them had doubled since 2006.
AP / Matt Dunham
The coffin of British Army Maj. Sean Birchall is carried by military personnel during his funeral in London last week. Birchall, of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was killed in Afghanistan.