Leading article: A damning disparity

The equipment provided to our servicemen and women in Afghanistan has long been compared unfavourably with that supplied to US forces. It is an issue that looms large when troops speak to their families, and has increasingly been aired by the top brass. While there has been some catching up, however, and more is planned, the disparity in body armour, highlighted in our report today, deserves urgent attention.

Better equipment and medical advances mean that many more soldiers are surviving what used to be fatal injuries. If one quite simple improvement could reduce the number of particularly distressing groin injuries, this should surely have priority. Almost as disturbing as the disparity in this type of injury is the disclosure that no comparative statistics are compiled to support what soldiers and doctors routinely see. Exchange of information about injuries, treatment and survival rates ought to be standard between allies, so that the lessons can be learnt.