Senior army officers have condemned pledges by Tony Blair that British commanders in Afghanistan will get “whatever they need” to defeat the Taliban.
In an interview on British Armed Forces Radio yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “If commanders on the ground want more equipment — armoured vehicles for example, more helicopters — that will be provided. Whatever package they want, we will do.” And in an article for The Sun, Mr Blair went further, stating: “[British forces] will get, I promise, whatever front-line commanders tell us they need to complete their job.”
But defence sources said that what commanders needed most desperately was more troops on the ground — something Mr Blair notably failed to mention.
Another source said it was scandalous for the Prime Minister to suggest that commanders could have as many helicopters as they liked when it was a “well-known fact” within the military that virtually all helicopters were committed to training or operations.
Blair condemned by Army