Colonel condemns leaks about army in Afghanistan
Friday 03 December 2010
A former British commander condemned WikiLeaks today for revealing US cables containing concerns about British forces not being "up to the task" in Helmand province in Afghanistan.
Colonel Stuart Tootal, who commanded the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in Helmand, told BBC Breakfast: "The people who leak this stuff, they're not helping anyone. They are certainly not helping the poor British or American infantrymen and they are certainly not helping Afghan people.
"I don't think any of this is in the public interest."
He said the US held British forces "in the highest regard" and said the army had ensured "strong security" in Afghanistan for US troops.
But Col Tootal admitted the UK had suffered from a lack of resources in Afghanistan.
Referring to comments in the cables claiming the UK had "made a mess of things" in Helmand, he said: "These are the views of some individuals and they are some time ago.
"They refer to a period of time when there were not the right resources.
"Some of the individual criticisms I think are very unfair. We have now got the resources in place.
"I don't think (the army) made a mess of things but we got some of our approach wrong in not having enough resources.
"A lot of this comment is historic and some of it is unfair."
The father of a soldier killed by a blast in Afghanistan said he agreed with the comments made in the leaked cables.
Ian Sadler said British troops were not properly equipped to fight and that he welcomed the WikiLeaks release.
His son, Trooper Jack Sadler, 21, of the Honourable Artillery Company, died after the Land Rover he was travelling in hit a mine north of Sangin in Helmand Province on December 4 2007.
Mr Sadler, from Exmouth, Devon, said: "I agree with what they said. We weren't up to doing the job.
"The soldiers were, but they didn't have the support of the government, and they still don't have the full support. They're still using the wrong vehicles.
"If you employ a carpenter but you buy his tools in a toy shop, you shouldn't expect him to do a good job."
He said too much money was spent on civil servants' salaries and pensions rather than on vital equipment.
"The British Army with American equipment would be second to none," he added.
Mr Sadler said he did not mind that the comments had been leaked in such a way as they had come from "people on the ground".
He added: "They thought that it was a secure link, so they said what they thought. They didn't think anybody was going to pick up on the comments. We usually only get the politically-correct version of the truth."
Colonel Richard Kemp, former British commander in Afghanistan, told Sky News that no-one could criticise the "fighting spirit of British soldiers" but added: "What is being criticised here, and I would agree with some of the criticism, is the under-resourcing."
Times are so tough in Italy that Mafiosi are considering getting jobs
The man they forgot to lock up: Mike Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in jail, but the police never came
Unbeliebable: The White House offers 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
South Korea ferry disaster: Families watch as remains of Sewol victims returned to shore
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
- 1 Disabled people are trapped in assessment 'nightmare' by PIP benefits regime, says Dr Stephen Duckworth
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Queen turns 88: David Bailey captures another side of the Queen in birthday portrait
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...