NEWS IN BRIEF
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01 Sep 09. During a visit this weekend to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that UK forces fighting there to protect Britain’s national security will receive ‘every possible support’ as they face new and emerging challenges. While visiting British forces in Camp Bastion and Lashkar Gah, the Prime Minister praised the success of efforts of UK troops this summer against the Taliban, but said there must be ‘100 per cent focus’ on overcoming the new threats posed by the insurgents’ terrorist-style tactics. During his visit Mr Brown announced a series of ways in which the Government plans to bolster the effort in Afghanistan and further support those on the front line doing the hard fighting and facing the daily danger of roadside bombs, mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These include: deploying more specialist personnel with expert skills in finding and defusing IEDs and targeting the networks which lay them; boosting surveillance assets to track and target the IED networks; increasing offensive operations which take the fight to the Taliban; and continuing efforts to increase the number of helicopters and the very best-protected vehicles in theatre. There have been billions of pounds of investment in equipment for the front line over recent years, but the Prime Minister made clear that continual improvement is necessary to ensure British troops remain among the best equipped in the world and are always one step ahead of the notoriously adaptable Taliban fighters. Mr Brown said:”Our forces have defeated the Taliban in every major engagement – but as we have seen they have turned to terrorist tactics and in particular IEDsmines and roadside bombs. These are always hard to defend against and the Americans and other nations are, with us, working hard to overcome this new challenge. I am determined that our forces have every possible support in this.”
25 Aug 09. European Defence Agency calls for MANPADS study tenders. The European Defence Agency (EDA) is planning to commission a study to determine the kinds of countermeasures needed to protect Europe’s military airlift assets against man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). According to an EDA statement in a new call for tenders for the study proposals, the growth of MANPADS as a “weapon of choice” for insurgents and terrorist groups “has contributed to the [EU] member states’ reluctance to deploy vertical lift assets, as their level of protection, especially for transport and liaison helicopters is insufficient.” (Source: Jane’s)
28 Aug 09. A U.S. soldier was killed August 28 in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, bringing the American military death toll to its highest point for a single month since the conflict began in
2001, a U.S. official said. A total of 46 soldiers have been killed there so far this month, higher than the previous monthly record set in July with 45 deaths. The year 2009 has already been a record-breaking year for the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led bid