MP'S PLEA FOR MORE HELICOPTERS AMID RISING WELSH CASUALTIES

July 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Today, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, released new figures show the number of casualties and deaths among Welsh Guards and Royal Welsh Regiment troops in Afghanistan and urged the Government to improve the supply of equipment for troops fighting in Afghanistan, especially of extra helicopters.

The figures, revealed in answer to a Parliamentary Question from Miss Willott, show the number of deaths and casualties in Afghanistan among Welsh Guards and Royal Welsh Regiment troops in each year since operations began:

· Six Welsh Guards and 1 Royal Welsh soldier have been killed in Afghanistan to date. All the deaths occurred since March 2009.

· There have been 13 casualties among the Welsh Guards and 18 among the Royal Welsh Regiment soldiers in Afghanistan. The majority have occurred in the last 6 months.

Commenting, Jenny said:

"These tragic figures show just how dangerous the new phase of the Afghanistan operation is. Getting extra helicopters and the right equipment to our troops is more important now than ever.

"If the Government cannot buy extra helicopters quickly enough, why can't the Government secure them from our European allies, and allow our pilots to fly them?

"The Government also needs to invest more in unmanned drones, to help identify potential ambushes.

"The situation must be improved by the time 2nd battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment are deployed later this year."

Today, the Ministry of Defence also published their Green Paper, "The Nation's Commitment to the Armed Forces Community: Consistent and Enduring Support", into how to prevent Service personnel and their families being disadvantaged in accessing public services such as housing, education and healthcare.

Commenting, Jenny said:

"Some of the housing and services provided for our Armed Forces are frankly shameful. The Government needs to make sure that the proposals in this paper are brought in as quickly as possible."

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