Author: Press Association
Private Richard Hunt, 21, from The 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, died of his
wounds at a military hospital in Selly Oak on Saturday.
He was injured while on patrol near Musa Qaleh in Helmand Province three days
Tributes were also paid to Sergeant Simon Valentine of 2nd Battalion The Royal
Regiment of Fusiliers who was killed on Saturday 15 August.
Earlier, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth insisted there was no room for
complacency in Afghanistan.
He was speaking following criticism of remarks he made yesterday on the BBC’s
Andrew Marr Show that troops would see “a degree of progress” within the
Today he told GMTV: “Yes we have seen an increase in the rate of loss but I
will say that we should still be there. This mission is vital to our
national interests and national security and we have to persevere.”
He said troops had seen a “phenomenal improvement” in the equipment they were
“When we are suffering the kind of losses that we are we cannot afford to be
“I will do everything I can to support our troops with the best kit but what I
can’t do is promise to make the operation in Afghanistan safe. This kind of
operation is intrinsically dangerous, the enemy is smart and they are
studying our methods.”
Further light is set to be shed on the scale of casualties suffered by UK
armed forces when official injury figures are published later today.
The details of the injuries suffered by troops in the last two weeks of July
are expected to reflect the ferocity of the fighting against insurgents.
The latest three deaths happened yesterday morning while soldiers from the 2nd
Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers were on patrol near Sangin in
Over the weekend the MoD also named three British troops killed providing
security for a meeting ahead of Afghanistan’s crunch presidential elections.
Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton, 23, of 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, was
wounded in the initial attack in Sangin on Thursday.
Captain Mark Hale, 42, and Rifleman Daniel Wild, 19, both from 2nd Battalion
The Rifles, were carrying him to a helicopter landing zone when there was a
second explosion, killing L/Bdr Hatton and Rfn Wild. Capt Hale died of his
injuries later in hospital.
There has been another upsurge in violence in Afghanistan as Taliban elements
intensify efforts to disrupt the elections, due to be held on Thursday.
The attacks mean that the UK’s casualty rate has remained high despite the
conclusion of last month’s major offensive known as Operation Panther’s Claw
– which was widely regarded as a success.
Meanwhile General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, said troops
were facing a “difficult and dangerous operation” in Afghanistan but
insisted: “We will succeed, we must succeed.”
Speaking at the official opening of an army recovery centre in Scotland, he
added: “It’s a war about the people in Afghanistan. In particular we need to
persuade the people in Afghanistan to support their government.”
He said Britain had a “duty” to support the “brave men and women” currently
serving their country.
“When they are injured we have an absolute duty to provide the very best for
them,” he said.
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