Call for Allies to send more troops

MORE helicopters and border security are among the resources needed by troops in Afghanistan where three Colchester soldiers have just lost their lives, an MP has said.

Annie Davidson

MORE helicopters and border security are among the resources needed by troops in Afghanistan where three Colchester soldiers have just lost their lives, an MP has said.

Bernard Jenkin spoke out on the same day that the injured colleague of privates Nathan Cuthbertson, Daniel Gamble and Charles David Murray paid tribute to his fallen comrades.

Sapper Martin Little, 21, from 9 (Para) Squadron Royal Engineers was wounded when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device as his foot patrol was returning to base in the Upper Sangin Valley in the volatile Helmand province.


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The three privates, all from 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, died in the attack on Sunday which bought the number of British troops killed in the country to 100.

North Essex MP Mr Jenkin said a Foreign Office memo showed more resources were needed and added that he thought other European countries should send more of their own military.

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He said France had 1,000 soldiers in Afghanistan compared to the UK's 8,000 and when NATO said during its April summit that 10,000 extra troops were needed it was the UK and USA which sent more.

“Lots and lots of countries are contributing little bits but we need big countries doing big bits,” Mr Jenkin said.

He added: “Those boys are doing a fantastic job and my heart goes out to their comrades and families - it is for the politicians to ensure that their sacrifice has not been in vain.”

His comments were backed up by Colchester MP Bob Russell who said during Prime Minister's question time in February that more help was needed from European allies.

He said yesterday that the other major European countries were “not pulling their weight” and added: “We have the best army in the world - but even the best army in the world needs support from its NATO allies.

“Our conflict in Afghanistan must be won otherwise it will drift back into a rogue state exporting terrorists around the democratic world and terrorism does not recognise borders,” Mr Russell added.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Defence yesterday, Sapper Little, from Preston, said he was in “the best of hands” and looked forward to making a swift recovery at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

He said: “I am very grateful for the support both I and my family have had since returning to the UK.

“My thoughts are now very much with the families of the members of the patrol who died, and also with the families of all the others who have died in Afghanistan.

“My thoughts are also with my mates who are still out there.”

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