Concerns raised over proposals that allow candidates to settle in Britain only if they have 12 months’ continuous service Lawyers representing Afghan interpreters have welcomed the news that about half of them are to be given settlement rights in the UK in recognition for risking their lives for British troops but expressed concerns that the reworked package does not go far enough. Under the proposals, any interpreters who have put themselves in physical danger working outside British military bases will be offered a resettlement package if they have been working for the UK forces for more than 12 months at the point of their redundancy. It is estimated that about half the interpreters working for the UK forces – roughly 600 – will qualify.
Government revises earlier plan to leave most army interpreters in Afghanistan after pullout, risking Taliban reprisals About half the Afghan interpreters risking their lives for British troops are to be given settlement rights in the UK under a reworked package prepared by the coalition government.
Up to 3,500 troops’ time will be extended by nearly half to ensure smooth handover to Afghan forces next year, say commanders Up to 3,500 British troops will have their tours in Helmand province extended by nearly half as part of the UK’s plans to hand over security to Afghan forces and end all combat operations next year, ministers will announce on Tuesday.
David Cameron pays tribute to soldiers killed by bomb in Helmand province and says effectiveness of armoured vehicles will be assessed
A former bomb disposal operator says he is surprised at the deaths of three British soldiers in Afghanistan, as they were in a heavily-armoured vehicle
The Mastiff is one of a number of protected patrol vehicles used by the British in Afghanistan that have helped to reduce the number of troops killed and injured by roadside improvised explosive devices
David Cameron pays tribute to soldiers after explosion that also injured another six UK service personnel Three British soldiers have been killed and several others injured after the heavily armoured vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a large roadside bomb while they were on a routine patrol in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday the men had been killed on Tuesday in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, on the border of Kandahar just north of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah. It is understood six other Britons were injured in the explosion, which happened while the soldiers were inside a Mastiff troop carrier – a 15-tonne vehicle which is regarded as one of the safest operated by the British military
Three dead after roadside bomb attack on patrol vehicle in Helmand province, Ministry of Defence confirms Three British soldiers have been killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed. The soldiers were on a routine patrol when their vehicle was struck by an improvised bomb in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, on Tuesday, the military said.
UN report reveals rapid growth of poppy farming as western troops get ready to withdraw, which reflects badly on Britain Twelve years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan is heading for a near-record opium crop as instability pushes up the amount of land planted with illegal but lucrative poppies, according to a bleak UN report. The rapid growth of poppy farming as western troops head home reflects particularly badly on Britain, which was designated “lead nation” for counter-narcotics work over a decade ago
Annual Afghan casualty figures have fallen for the first time since the invasion. How many people have died? • British dead and wounded in Afghanistan, month by month • Get the Afghan civilian casualties data A NATO airstrike on Monday left 11 Afghan civilians (10 of whom were children) dead
In open letter, senior figures including Mike Jackson and Lord Ashdown, critical of ‘shameful’ UK stance Britain has a “moral obligation” to help Afghan interpreters who are in danger of being abandoned and hunted down by the Taliban, senior political and military figures have said. In an open letter, the high-profile names, including former chief of the general staff, Sir Mike Jackson, and Lord Ashdown, said it is shameful that Britain is the only Nato country yet to provide Afghan interpreters with asylum.
Soldiers and civilians prepare to depart with qualified confidence that progress will continue under full Afghan control The Royal Marines don’t intend to make a fuss when they leave Afghanistan in the next few days; there will be a low-key ceremony at their headquarters in Helmand, and a lowering of the white ensign that has flown at their camp since last September.
One of the injured soldiers is airlifted to Camp Bastion after blast and gun battle in which five insurgents are killed At least 10 British troops have been injured in a suspected suicide car bomb attack on a patrol base in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The insurgents followed up the blast with small arms fire on the base in Nad Ali, one of the districts where UK troops have been based during their time in the country. Five insurgents were killed in the attack on the base on Monday night, which is jointly operated by the Afghan army and troops from Nato’s International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf).
• failure to speak truth to power • mistakes repeated in Afghanistan Ten years ago today, thousands of British troops joined the US and invaded Iraq. They were unprepared and ill-equipped because their political masters did not want to alert parliament or the public in advance that Britain was about to embark on an unpopular and – as the most senior government lawyers warned, illegal – war. Thousands of words have been written and spoken to mark the tenth anniversary of the invasion.
The pair of soldiers were among a group of five due to face accusations of killing a captured Afghan national Murder charges against two Royal Marines accused of killing a captured Afghan national have been dropped, it emerged tonight.
Sergeant Luke Taylor and Lance Corporal Michael Foley killed by Afghan National Army soldier with a personal grievance Two British servicemen were shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier with a personal grievance, their inquest has heard. Sergeant Luke Taylor, 33, of the Royal Marines, and Lance Corporal Michael Foley, 25, of the Adjutant General’s Corps, were killed at their forward operating base in Lashkar Gah on 26 March last year. Their inquest in Oxford heard the Afghan was waiting outside the base with other men to collect a VIP.
Ministry of Defence releases figures for crashes, breakdowns and missing vehicles, including loss of half of Hermes 450 fleet Almost 450 drones operated by the British military have crashed, broken down or been lost in action during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last five years, figures reveal. The Ministry of Defence has disclosed for the first time the five Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems used in the conflicts and the number that have perished due to pilot error, technical faults or the undesirability of retrieving them from hostile areas. The figures highlight the military’s increasing reliance on technologies that are regarded as a way of minimising risks to frontline troops.
In the depths of a Northumbrian winter, soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment ( 2 PARA ) are braving the snow to take part in Exercise Eagle’s Nest at Otterburn Ranges. The two-week-long training, which began last week, is designed so that troops can practise live firing, manoeuvring across hostile countryside, working with fire support from artillery and helicopters, and living in the field for prolonged periods.
The treaty, to be signed in Perth today, Friday 18 January, with the Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith, will see the 2 countries working together in areas such as cyber security, defence reform, personnel exchange, equipment, and science and technology.
Brimstone missiles are carried by RAF Tornado aircraft in Afghanistan and were also used on operations over Libya. Defence Equipment Minister Philip Dunne agreed the contract and has just returned from a visit to Helmand where he met RAF personnel who use the weapon
The Minister of State for the Armed Forces , Andrew Robathan, and the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology , Philip Dunne, visited personnel in Afghanistan to witness first-hand the progress being made in mentoring Afghan forces to take on their own security challenges. During their visit, they also met with International Security Assistance Force ( ISAF ) and Afghan military commanders as well as Afghanistan’s Ministers for Defence and Interior in the capital Kabul
Sapper Walker was shot in an apparent ‘insider attack’ by a member of the Afghan National Army ( ANA ) at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Monday 7 January 2013. He was working on a construction task with other military engineers from his Troop, as part of the preparations to hand the camp over to Afghan security forces, when the Afghan soldier turned his weapon on ANA and ISAF soldiers at the base. The incident resulted in a number of casualties, all of whom were extracted to the Bastion Role 3 medical facility where Sapper Walker was pronounced dead.
When Australian scientists went to have a look at Sandy Island in the South Pacific recently, they discovered that, despite having featured on maps and on Google Earth for years, it doesn’t actually exist. The experts working at the Defence Geographic Centre ( DGC ) may well have smiled wryly on hearing this.
The Prime Minister told Parliament that UK forces would shift from mentoring Afghan troops at battalion level to brigade level next year.