Out of the British Prime Minister's Office:
Gordon Brown calls for commemoration of troops
The Prime Minister has said it is time to commemorate the British troops who have died in Afghanistan as he signaled an end to the first phase of Operation Panther’s Claw.
Speaking from Scotland, Gordon Brown praised soldiers who have taken part in the offensive to push back the Taliban.
He acknowledged that it had been a difficult time for the troops but said they had succeeded in protecting thousands of local civilians and people in Britain.
The PM said:
“Now that Operation Panther’s Claw has shown that it can bring success and the first phase of that operation is over, it’s time to commemorate all those soldiers who have given their lives and to thank all our British forces for the determination and professionalism and courage that they’ve shown.
“What we have actually done is make land secure for about 100,000 people. What we’ve done is push back the Taliban - and what we’ve done also is to start to break that chain of terror that links the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of Britain. And I’m very proud of what our forces have achieved over the last few weeks - indeed for all the time they’ve been in Afghanistan.”
He said that Britain’s strategy in Afghanistan was still to undertake military offensives to remove insurgents and to build up local institutions to allow the Afghans to take control of their own affairs.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband spoke today about the the importance of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Read more from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (source)
Our British troops have seen heavy losses this last month, so it is more than appropriate that Gordon Brown gives public acknowledgment of the incredible job the troops are doing. Now, if we could just have the government of the day turn those words into action and FUND the mission adequately, that would be grand.