London, Oct. 7 : A former British commander has lambasted the equipment shortage faced by the country’s troops in Afghanistan and said that had the Royal Air Force been faced the similar situation during the Battle of Britain, it would have lost it.
“It''s extraordinary it''s taking nine months to redeploy some helicopters. If we were talking about the same delays with Spitfires in 1940, we would have almost certainly lost the Battle of Britain,” The Sun quoted Colonel Richard Kemp, as saying.
Colonel Richard Kemp was reacting to the delay of getting Merlin choppers over from Iraq.
Ex-Scots Guards officer Captain Leo Docherty, an Afghanistan veteran, added: “A half-hour journey by helicopter becomes a 24-hour road move because vehicles get stuck.”
Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox blamed a 1.4 billion-pound cut in the copter budget in 2004 for the delay.
“We are still playing catch-up,” Fox said.
The father of Darren Bonner, 21, who was killed by the Taliban, said troops were suffering from a shortage of boots and socks.
An ex-SAS soldier, who lost a leg in the war, urged the British Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell to provide basic facilities to the troops.
“If you are going to put our guys into theatre, get them the kit they need," the paper quoted Stuart Trow, as saying.
Rammell, however, said that everything was being done. (ANI)