Sunday, July 19, 2009

John Baron MP slams shortage of helicopters in Afghanistan

Troops must be given the support needed to minimise casualties

Yesterday, John Baron MP spoke out in a Commons debate to condemn the shortage of helicopters for British troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. John’s intervention came as the head of the Army General Sir Richard Dannatt said British troops "needed more".

John said:
The shortage is serious for a number of reasons. Not only must commanders on the ground be given the option of moving troops by air as well as by road – as we saw in Northern Ireland – but if there are not enough helicopters many victories on the ground will become pyrrhic if we do not dominate the ground afterwards. That is what we are currently seeing in parts of Afghanistan.
Afterwards, John said:
Air power is needed to dominate the ground we take in Afghanistan and minimise casualties, and yet our troops are now paying the price for Gordon Brown’s decision to cut the helicopter budget by £1.4 billion in 2004

The number of our troops in theatre has doubled since 2006 but the increase in the number of helicopters has simply not kept pace. It is wrong of the Government to send our troops into battle without giving them all the support they need.

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