UK Soldier ‘Posed With Dead Taliban Fighter’

The picture has appeared on the internet

The RAF (Royal Air Force) has launched a probe after photographs surfaced appearing to show a serviceman posing with a dead Taliban fighter. The pictures were apparently taken in the wake of an attack by 15 insurgents on Camp Bastion, the main British base in Afghanistan, in September 2012. The insurgents breached the perimeter of the base, triggering a battle involving a British RAF regiment and US marines. Two of the marines and 14 Taliban fighters were killed in the firefight, and UK troops were also injured. The two photographs appear to show at least one member of the RAF giving a thumbs-up sign as he kneels next to the body of a dead insurgent.

Camp Bastion is the main British base in Afghanistan

It is unclear if it is the same serviceman in both of the photographs. Sky News has learned that the individual or individuals belong to 51 Squadron. An RAF source said he was making “no excuses” for the behaviour but said it was important to consider the context. “This was a long, extensive firefight against a well-drilled, well-armed enemy who was trying to kill them,” the source said. He spoke of the “heat of conflict”, the “relief of victory” and the “unusual adrenaline fuelled situation” in which “foolish” things happened. The investigation will focus on whether the airman broke the rules by “mistreating” the enemy. They may also be reprimanded for simply having and using photographic equipment. Another photograph shows a burned-out plane in a hangar – six US Harriet jets were destroyed in the attack. The images first appeared on the website Live Leak. An RAF spokesman said: “Inappropriate actions will not be tolerated in the armed forces. “The RAF is treating this incident extremely seriously and has launched a military police investigation. “As this incident is subject to an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

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` Lawmakers Blame `British Army Commanders Defences and Complacency ‘ for `Camp Bastion Attack’ by Taliban’

#AceNewsServices – LONDON – April 16 – British army commanders were partly to blame for the inadequate defences and complacency that allowed the Taliban to attack a base in Afghanistan, killing two US marines, a parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.

The September 2012 attack on Camp Bastion in Helmand province saw 15 heavily-armed Taliban fighters dressed in US army uniforms cut the perimeter wire before destroying six US harrier jets and damaging many other aircraft and vehicles.

Two US marines were killed during the attack and 16 US and British staff as well as a civilian contractor were injured.

The committee said the perimeter security measures in place at the time of the attack were inadequate, with less than half of the camp’s 24 guard-towers manned that night.

“Insufficient attention was given to the fundamental requirement of defending Camp Bastion from external assault. We believe that this was complacent,” the Defence Committee, which scrutinises government defence policy and expenditure, said in a report. “Given that the attack took place in the British sector of the camp, British commanders must bear a degree of responsibility for these systemic failures and associated reputational damage.”

Two US generals were forced to retire following a US review of the attack last year.

The committee said it was concerned that there had been a number of breaches of the perimeter fence in the two years before the attack, and that a tolerance of poppy cultivation immediately outside the fence had increased the risk of surveillance and intelligence gathering by Afghan nationals.

While it was satisfied that the camp’s vulnerabilities had now been addressed, the committee asked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to explain how it intended to use lessons identified from the attack for future operations.


#afghan, #afghanistan, #british, #british-ministry-defence-mod, #camp-bastion, #helmand-province, #london, #marines, #od

UK: Urged by Government to Not Forget our Armed Forces Abroad at Christmas

With just 50 days to go, kind-hearted members of the public are reminded to show their support through service charities this Christmas.

In previous years, the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) has received a high volume of gifts and parcels intended for personnel on operations in Afghanistan and around the world, including Royal Navy ships.

As this mail can cause delays to personnel getting post from loved ones, members of the public are being urged to donate to existing service charities instead.

Soldiers sort mail bags
Soldiers from the Royal Logistic Corps working through the early hours of Christmas Day to sort mail bags (library image) [Picture: Corporal Jamie Peters, Crown copyright]

Head of the BFPO, Colonel Stephen Heron, said:

As we get closer to Christmas it’s important to remind people who, though their generosity is appreciated, the most important thing for our men and women on operations is to receive mail from their loved ones.

With this in mind we are urging the public to donate to recognised service charities, which can use their experience to focus their efforts directly on what will be of most benefit to deployed service personnel.

The public is also reminded that, due to the ongoing redeployment of UK personnel and equipment as responsibility for security is handed over to the Afghans, there will be significantly fewer UK troops in Afghanistan this Christmas compared to previous years.

How to show your support

British soldiers with their uk4u Thanks! Christmas boxes
British soldiers serving at a forward operating base in Helmand, southern Afghanistan, with their uk4u Thanks! Christmas boxes (library image) [Picture: Corporal Dek Traylor, Crown copyright]

The best way to support personnel on operations abroad is to make donations to approved charities such as uk4u Thanks! which works withBFPO to make use of any spare space in the existing supply chain.

The uk4u Thanks! Christmas Box appeal, which has sent festive boxes to personnel for 7 years, ensures a present ‘on behalf of the nation’ is sent at Christmas to every serviceman and women working overseas.

People can donate to this and other charities now to show their support and appreciation, and are encouraged to do so rather than sending their own gifts by post.

Sally Little, uk4u Thanks! director and trustee, said:

Christmas is a difficult time for servicemen and  women who are serving away from their families on operations. uk4u sends them all a Christmas box filled with useful and fun items.

This year over 18,000 boxes will be sent all over the world using spare space in military transport; therefore we do not put additional strain onBFPO at Christmas. We know from feedback received that this helps to raise the morale of our troops at Christmas.

uk4u would like to thank all our sponsors and members of the public who donate, without whose support we would not be able to send the boxes.

Service personnel unload aircraft
Military personnel work through the night to ensure service personnel get their presents on Christmas morning (library image) [Picture: Corporal Jamie Peters, Crown copyright]

#afghanistan, #bfpo, #british-forces-post-office, #camp-bastion, #christmas, #christmas-day, #crown, #crown-copyright, #royal-logistic-corps, #sally-little