No. 10 urged to review PM security

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Indy Politics

Senior military figures called on Downing Street to urgently review security arrangements after the Taliban tried to bring down David Cameron's helicopter in Afghanistan, it was reported today.

An RAF Chinook transporting the Prime Minister during a visit earlier this year was forced into a last minute diversion amid fears that insurgents were planning an attack.

Sources told The Times that the attempt on June 10 was "much closer than anyone said at the time", prompting calls for a security shake-up at Number 10.

Among the options being urged is a total news black-out during future visits, to be lifted only when the Prime Minister has left the war zone, it was reported.

The attempted attack took place during Mr Cameron's first visit to Afghanistan as Prime Minister.

He had been due to fly in to the patrol base at Shahzad in Helmand province to meet troops from the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

But his Chinook helicopter was forced to change direction at the last minute to the main operating base in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

The decision was made following intelligence suggesting that insurgents might be planning to bring down a helicopter.

Further information then indicated a possible attack on a VIP.

At that point the commander of Taskforce Helmand, Brigadier Richard Felton - who was due to meet Mr Cameron at the base - decided it was too dangerous for the visit to continue and it was called off.

Mr Cameron appeared unruffled by the incident at the time, with aides saying he was "disappointed" that he was unable to meet soldiers at Shahzad.

But senior military figures believe the planned attack was more advanced than previously admitted, it was claimed in The Times.

They believe the Taliban knew which helicopter was carrying Mr Cameron, the newspaper reported.

A spokesman for Downing Street said: "We never comment on security matters."