‘The Taliban are in turmoil’

Hard to miss Afghanistan this week after the death of three young men from the Parachute Regiment took Britain’s toll to 100. Much hand wringing and questions about the mission and what we are doing there. Some of it good and some not so good, but it is always good to have another perspective and the Guardian has been running the diary of Corporal Lachlan MacNeil. He’s a section commander in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade as were the three killed.

This is from today’s paper and MacNeil paints a slightly different picture. He has something to say about the media as well:

“While at Base Delhi I saw a copy of the Guardian. The Pakistan correspondent had come down and done a few interviews and the headline on his story was ‘UK forces fighting losing battle’ or some rubbish like that. The facts are simple. We are now dominating Garmsir. We have killed Taliban, taken no casualties and have now pushed and secured further south than any other British army unit. Garmsir is now opening its hospital again. If you ask the locals they said they thought they would never see it again. As I write this, the Taliban in our area of operations are in turmoil, taking heavy casualties every time they feel brave enough to pop up. I don’t see this in any way as losing any battle.

“The media need to understand we didn’t ask to come here; we were sent and we’re doing a difficult job in extremely harsh surroundings. I drink at least nine litres of warm water a day (due to the lack of fridges). I have over 100 mosquito bites on my body. Nobody here moans about it, we just get on with it. What does annoy us is being misquoted and giving the British public the perception we’re losing.

“If you want the truth, I’m writing it for you now. The British army is doing an outstanding job out here in very difficult circumstances. I’d like to thank the British public for their support, the welfare parcels just keep flooding in. A special thank you must go to the mayor of Warminster, who is sending us at least 50 a month. It’s very much appreciated.”