Friday, September 22, 2006

Concern over UK troop casualties surface in the mainstream

The British Army is sustaining higher casualties in Afghanistan than official figures suggest, a senior officer has suggested in an army newsletter. In the Fusiliers' newsletter Major John Swift, a commander in Afghanistan, said political rather than military imperatives are driving the operation.

Casualty numbers were very significant and show no signs of reducing, he said. It comes just days after Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, said the operation was harder than expected. The major pointed out that some have argued many casualties are being treated in the field and, therefore, were not getting into the official statistics for wounded in action.

Conservative defence spokesman Liam Fox said: "If the government fail to tell the public the truth and the truth comes out, as the truth tends to come out, I think that will undermine the public's trust in the government's handling of this whole issue."