Abergavenny soldier's mum slams PM over Afghan views
1:32pm Tuesday 24th December 2013 in News
AN ABERGAVENNY woman whose son was the 200th British serviceman to die after serving in Afghanistan criticised Prime Minister David Cameron’s declaration that it will be “mission accomplished” by the time the troops pull out of the country next year.
Hazel Hunt, whose son Pte Richard Hunt lost his life while serving in Afghanistan in 2009 aged 21, made the comments after the Prime Minister said recently that all combat troops would be pulled out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Mr Cameron said the most important part of the mission was to build Afghan security forces that were capable of maintaining a basic level of security so the country would never again be a haven for terrorist training camps, and that this will have been achieved by the time the troops return home.
In June the Afghan National Army and security forces took over responsibility for security across the country, with British forces in a supporting and training role.
Mrs Hunt believes that while the troops have helped to create stability and make improvements, it won’t last once they pull out.
She said: “The Russians were there for 20 years but as soon as they left the Taliban came back.”
“Our troops have made a certain amount of improvements, with millions of children now in school, but I can’t see it lasting beyond when they leave,” said Mrs Hunt.
She said she believed Mr Cameron’s words were a “good will Christmas message” and an “easy photo opportunity”.
“I do not agree with him or any of the political pundits,” she said.
“All they have done is move Al-Qaeda on to sub-Saharan Africa.”
“I do think he will bring home the combat troops but there has been no mention of the troops that will remain out there in a supporting and training role.”
Mrs Hunt believes the British Army became involved in too much by splitting its troops between Iraq and Afghanistan, and she deemed it a ‘huge mistake.’
She is calling on the Prime Minister to bring the troops home by September 30.
“They should be brought home as soon as possible and not spend another winter there,” she said.
“No matter what faction you belong to, whether Christian or Muslim, it should not have been a war that we got involved in.”
“We have been out there far too long. What I want to see put in place for those coming home and their families is a support system.”
Mrs Hunt, who set up The Richard Hunt Foundation in memory of her son to help Welsh servicemen and women and their families, said the Government was not doing enough for those returning home.
“They will need a network of support,” she added.
“I want to see more being put into the care and help that is going to be required here.”
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