UK

UK's Afghanistan troops leaving Sangin prompts reaction

Image caption Sangin has seen some of the fiercest fighting in recent UK military history

British troops in the Sangin area of Afghanistan's Helmand province are to be replaced by US forces.

The UK has suffered its heaviest losses in the area and the move, which was announced by Defence Secretary Liam Fox, has prompted various reactions.

Stop the War

"Over 100 British soldiers have died there - a third of the total deaths over nearly nine years.

"Many people will be asking what exactly they died for. The British government and Army will try to deny that it is a retreat, but it is hard to see it in any other way.

"As the war drags on, how many people will have to die as a result? How much more instability in the region will be caused by it continuing?"

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt

"The intention when we went into southern Afghanistan was to try to get the country on its feet economically. We all know it didn't turn out that way.

"We spread our small resources thinly and that inevitably made the small number of British soldiers like flies in a honey pot and we got into this cycle of fighting.

"We have got to make sure that the general public in this country understand why we are in Afghanistan, what we are doing, and that the cost - while very, very tough for the families who lose loved ones - is worth the price we are paying."

Col Stuart Tootal

"It makes no sense from a logistic and command point of view to keep a British battle group away from its main brigade when it's now an American area and there are American troops to take over from them.

"This reflects good practical military sense and we shouldn't allow emotion or misinterpretation to be put above that."

Patrick Mercer, Conservative MP

"It's absolutely straightforward and normal in coalition warfare like this for units to serve under foreign command, but it's not necessarily desirable.

"There are now enough troops for this no longer to be necessary and any suggestion that British forces are being beaten out of Sangin or returning with their tails between their legs is not just disingenuous, it's actually disgusting."

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