War in Afghanistan

Face of the day

Sqn Ldr Charlotte 'Charlie' Thomson-Edgar (left) previously Staff Officer 1 of the Medical Emergency Response Team in Afghanistan, with a colleague. She has criticised MOD failings in the conduct of the war  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2973909/RAF-hero-Charlotte-Thompson-Edgar-saved-600-wounded-troops-attacks-shocking-MOD-planning-cost-lives.html#ixzz3TFgNvgOr Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Sqn Ldr Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Thomson-Edgar (left) previously Staff Officer 1 of the Medical Emergency Response Team in Afghanistan, with a colleague. She has criticised MOD failings in the conduct of the war 

If we are going to send our soldiers into battle it is the very least we can do to provide them with the very best medical support. Squadron Leader Charlotte Thompson-Edgar has highlighted the totally unacceptable way that the British Government under resourced and under prepared the medical teams. I can’t help but compare this shocking situation with the millions of pounds being put into building Mosques in Britain. They build places where Muslims can spread their ideology that is anti democracy, freedom of speech and Infidels while British citizens fighting to protect others rights overseas did not even have blood and plasma available to them on board British helicopters when they were injured.

A senior RAF nurse awarded one of Britain?s highest medals for nursing on the front line has hit out at military leaders, saying they were woefully unprepared for the consequences of fighting in Afghanistan.

Squadron Leader Charlotte Thompson-Edgar spoke movingly about the bravery of the 600 soldiers she brought back from the brink of death after fierce battles against the Taliban.

But at a ceremony last week to mark the latest Operational Honours and Awards for Britain?s Armed Forces, Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar ? who was awarded the Royal Red Cross 2nd Class ? said she believed the Ministry of Defence failed to plan or prepare for the fighting, during which 453 troops lost their lives.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday the 40-year-old revealed:

  • Senior officers failed to anticipate the scale and severity of casualties the Taliban could inflict;
  • She received no job training;
  • For two years, British helicopters flew without any blood or plasma on board to give to wounded soldiers ? a policy that cost them their lives;
  • Overworked medics suffered ?burnout? and quit their jobs after working 24-hour shifts for ten days without any rest.
  • From 2007 to 2013, Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar, from Peterborough, commanded a medical response unit that flew by helicopter to the battlefield, braving Taliban gunfire, to rescue injured soldiers.

Speaking about her ?horrific? experiences in the war zone, she said: ?There was no training for the job whatsoever and I?d never done any pre-hospital care.


+6 Sqn Ldr Thomson-Edgar (left) working onboard a Chinook helicopter with a colleague on Operation Herrick: the codename under which all British operations in Afghanistan have been conducted. She said she was a ‘complete mess’ on returning to Britain after her first tour

‘I was used to working in a nice emergency room in a safe environment with kit and with everyone on standby.

?Suddenly I was in a Chinook helicopter, unable to hear myself think, treating guys with horrific injuries and being shot at. I was not prepared to see these injuries but then the military was not expecting to see them either.

?I pulled 600 patients from the battlefield ? about 80 per cent of them had limbs missing or gunshot wounds. Quite a lot died, especially those with gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

‘We also saw guys were dying because they were losing too much blood.?


…However, leading so many missions commanding the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) soon took its toll.

Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar said: ?Every time the red phone rang to signal another MERT mission I would think, ?Is today going to be the day??

?And when I came back to Britain after that first tour, I?ll be honest, I was a complete mess.

?So I said right, we?ve got to prepare our people better because I hadn?t been prepared and didn?t want somebody else to go through it.?
Once home, she played a key role in setting up a MERT training programme, which used amputees in Britain to act as injured soldiers to help medics train before they were deployed to Afghanistan.

As a result of recommendations from senior medical staff, blood and plasma started to be carried aboard MERT helicopters in 2008.

But as the campaign continued, the Taliban changed their tactics ? leading to injuries becoming even more horrific and the experiences of UK medics more traumatic.

She said: ?Originally they just wanted to hurt as many soldiers as possible in order to dent morale and get the public up in arms.

‘Then they decided that if they maimed somebody really, really badly that?s going to affect people more and affect the minds of the soldiers on the ground.

?So the blasts got bigger and the amputations started getting higher up the soldiers? legs. This made our jobs a lot harder, especially when someone was bleeding from the groin because it is very difficult to stop that sort of bleeding.

…She added: ?The past seven years have been very difficult and I know my family have been concerned.

?I got through it for a reason ? because of the guys on the ground, the soldiers, who deserved the best.?

‘Their bravery was my reason for going back to the war zone so many times.?

To read the article in full

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Bryan Adams Rifleman Craig Wood injured in Afghanistan, aged 18.

Photo: Bryan Adams
Rifleman Craig Wood injured in Afghanistan, aged 18.

Wounded: The Legacy of War

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Photo Of The Day

Photograph by Robert Wilson "They were looking quite bedraggled," says Wilson."And while they were having a debrief, I noticed they had this thousand-yard stare".

Photograph by Robert Wilson
“They were looking quite bedraggled,” says Wilson.”And while they were having a debrief, I noticed they had this thousand-yard stare”.

Bringing The Front Line To UK Streets

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Ex-Aussie Army Boss says we need to be prepared to fight Islam for a 100 years

With Islamic fundamentalism on the rise in Australia and ?radicalised Australians joining various jihad it is hard not to agree with those that want to prevent Muslim immigration into New Zealand.

Australia is far further down the track on this and as a result you are witnessing increased anti-semitism, creation of no go areas in major cities and not far off seeing demands for Sharia law in those same areas.

Australia has a problem and I don’t think we will escape it either.

Their former Army boss says Australia needs to prepare to fight, and on their own soil too.

AUSTRALIA needs to prepare for an increasingly savage, 100-year war against radical Islam that will be fought on home soil as well as foreign lands, the former head of the army, Peter Leahy, has warned.

Professor Leahy, a leading defence and strategic analyst, told?The?Weekend Australian?the country was ill-prepared for the high cost of fighting a war that would be paid in ?blood and treasure? and would require pre-emptive as well as reactive action.

?Australia is involved in the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the century,? he said. ?We must be ready to protect ourselves and, where necessary, act pre-emptively to neutralise the evident threat. Get ready for a long war.?

Senior intelligence officials have moved to shore up public support for the Abbott government?s tough new security laws, including enhanced data-retention capabilities enabling agencies to track suspect computer usage.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general David Irvine said the proposed data laws, which require phone and internet companies to retain records for two years, were ?absolutely crucial? to counter the jihadist terror threat.

The government?s security package also includes a $630 million funding boost to intelligence agencies and police to help prevent domestic terrorist attacks. ? Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Women browse in a Kabul record store

Women browse in a Kabul record store

Afghan Women?

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Here’s a conspiracy for ya…

Oh no, explosive revelations in the Dominion Post today about New Zealand spies working in Afghanistan.

Kiwi spies operating in Afghanistan sifted through intelligence supplied by the United States National Security Agency, a former US intelligence officer has revealed.

Prime Minister John Key confirmed this week that New Zealand intelligence agencies provided information to international forces in Afghanistan that may have been used to target drone strikes.

Former “black ops” operator Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer detailed the work carried out by a New Zealand defence analyst stationed in Afghanistan in 2003.

He revealed that “raw” signals intelligence was passed to a team of US and Kiwi specialists “to parse it and review it to establish their own intel”.

Shaffer, who worked under the alias Major Chris Stryker, struck a deal with a colleague to access the intercepts.

He was working on a mission – eventually vetoed – to strike Taliban insurgents over the border with Pakistan.

Shock horror, our people working with the US.? Read more »

The effectiveness of drones

Are drones effective? Obama is certainly the drone-meister, deploying and utilising drones more than any other president. Of course technology has advanced at a greater pace too. But are they effective?

There?s no doubt that drone strikes can have horrific consequences. Beyond the?disputed numbers?of noncombatants killed, there are psychological consequences to consider as well. In the Senate hearing, Farea al-Muslimi, an American-educated Yemeni writer and activist,?spoke eloquently?of the heartbreak and fear that drones cause in Yemen. News reports from Pakistan suggest?something similar: People are deeply afraid of drones. These perspectives matter greatly. But they only scratch at the surface of a much bigger problem with how the U.S. government uses drones. At a basic level, are they effective?

Gauging the effectiveness of drones is not simply a question of body counts. It is a larger evaluation of whether the terrorist threat is affected, whether the countries where drones are used are becoming more stable or less, and whether America?s ability to partner with other governments for future counterterrorism missions is improving or getting worse. The human factor, which Congress has focused on recently, is an important part of that evaluation, but it is only one part. In other words: Can we tally up all the costs and benefits of the drone war?? Read more »

Don’t tell these women nothing’s changed in Afghanistan

The left likes to exclaim that nothing has changed in Afghanistan.

Foreign Policy magazine has a photo essay on women in Afghanistan that disproves that….but it is all at risk if the Taliban return:

Afghan girls attend class at a camp for the displaced in Kabul in October 2011.

Afghan girls attend class at a camp for the displaced in Kabul in October 2011.

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghan women have gained the rights to vote, work, and pursue an education. They’re?running?for president, they’ve?claimed?seats in parliament, and they’ve even?competed?in the Olympics. But international troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and the Taliban threatens to step into the vacuum they’ll leave behind. Already, writes Amie Ferris-Rotman in an?FP?dispatch from Kabul, many of the women who’ve come so far — journalists, politicians, and rights workers, among others — have begun to retreat from public life out of fear for their safety. “Once the Americans go we’ll have to sit at home again, bored,” First Lieutenant Zakiya Mohammadi tells Ferris-Rotman.

The “last decade produced a league of knowledgeable, determined young women for whom the Taliban’s return is anathema,” Ferris-Rotman writes. Here’s a look at women across post-Taliban Afghanistan — from the campaign trail to the basketball court to the operating room.

Surprise, Surprise, Herald gets it wrong again

This morning David Fisher had an article about a “leaked” report from Defense that “blasted army training”.

A leaked report has strongly criticised the training given to an army contingent sent to Afghanistan which lost five of its members in combat.

The Defence Force has admitted the group left New Zealand with gaps in their training.

The report was written by a sergeant in military intelligence who reviewed the group’s preparation in Hawkes Bay, where the troops performed exercises simulating situations they were likely to encounter in Bamiyan province.

The only problem with Fisher’s assertions is that they are wrong. The Defense Force has not admitted anything of the sort (only one sergeant, and in a stolen leaked report)…in fact they have issued a press release saying that Fisher’s article is wrong.

Statement from the Vice Chief of Defence Force, Major General Tim Keating? Read more »

Harry talks frankly about shooting up bad wogs in Afghanistan

Harry, or Captain Wales as he is known has given a frank discussion of his time in Afghanistan:

Prince Harry should be commended rather than criticised for his unfiltered reflections on his 20-week tour of duty in Afghanistan as a co-pilot gunner on an Apache helicopter.

Rather than hide behind euphemisms or portray the mission as a high-minded, essentially humanitarian exercise, Harry (who goes by the nom de guerre Captain Wales) freely admitted he’d killed Taleban fighters and likened his battlefront experiences to playing video games.

While his comments have been predictably deplored, I’d suggest he performed a public service by reminding us of the brutal reality of war-time soldiering.

He’s a professional soldier, as opposed to what many monarchists would prefer: a pretend soldier acquiring gold braid and giveaway ribbons to go with his other entitlements, while leaving the nasty, dangerous job of engaging the enemy to commoners. And a soldier’s job is to kill or facilitate the killing of the enemy.

Correct…it is the job of soliders, or in this case combat helicopter operators to make sure as many bad bastards die hard as possible in order to keep our guys safe.

Notwithstanding the apparent desire of successive governments to transform our military into a sort of uniformed branch of Volunteer Service Abroad, Harry has reminded us that its core function is fighting.

Of course the enemy sees their job in a similar light, hence the saying “kill or be killed” or, as Harry put it, “take a life to save a life”.

Judging by the reaction to the deaths of five of our soldiers in Afghanistan last August, some Kiwis appear to believe that being killed while on active service in a war zone is like being flattened by a runaway hay bale while going for a walk in the countryside: a desperately unfortunate freak occurrence.

The other widely expressed view was that our soldiers shouldn’t have died because they shouldn’t have been in Afghanistan in the first place. That raises the question of what would constitute a just war, a cause worth sacrificing lives for. There are those who give the impression that they would object to lives being put on the line for anything short of resisting an invasion by P-crazed cannibals from outer space.

This mindset reduces the armed forces to a purely ornamental function.

I can’t believe I am reading this in the Herald..but there it is, a frank account of the panty-waist attitude of the hand-wringers…and the reality of war from Prince Harry.

It has to be said that Harry’s reference to video games included an unfortunate choice of words: “It’s a joy for me because I’m one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I’m probably quite useful.”

Well, quite, your highness, although perhaps “joy” is ever so slightly unseemly in this context.

But again, in his gauche way, Harry has put his thumb on it: the further removed from the death scene the killer is, the more warfare becomes virtual combat.

There is joy in a job well done.

BONUS VIDEO:?2 Apaches Engage a Group of Taliban fighters setting up to ambush a U.S. special forces patrol.