27 November, 2006

Garmser: more details emerge

In October I linked to a Daily Telegraph report which recounted how a shortage of troops in Afghanistan resulted in gunners and red caps being pressed into service as infantrymen to hold Sangin in Helmand Province. Now the Daily Mail reports similar desperate measures in Garmser (Garmisir).

When a key strategic town in Afghanistan's Helmand Province fell to the Taliban, British commanders ordered that it must be retaken as a top priority. But with the UK's main fighting units locked in bloody battles further north, it was left to a ragtag band of 12 British soldiers, including TA reservists and medics, to lead a force of barely-trained Afghan soldiers and police across Taliban-held the desert. They hoped to retake the town of Garmisir within 24 hours. In fact they faced an astonishing 14 day close-quarter battle - isolated, heavily outnumbered and fighting for their lives in an action reminiscent of Rorke's Drift.
A quite incredible account of the action follows.

A clear picture is beginning to emerge of just how desperate it became at times in Helmand during the summer. It would seem that, beset by manpower and equipment shortages, only the skill and bravery of the troops averted a military disaster. Our troops deserve better from the MoD.

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