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Don’t quit Afghanistan after bombing urges father of a para killed in 2003
6:00pm Friday 9th March 2012 in News
THE father of a paratrooper killed in Afghanistan has urged the Government to finish the job it started and then get out.
Six soldiers were killed by an explosion on Tuesday, prompting calls for British troops to be brought home now.
But Bob Wright, whose son Corporal Mark Wright GC, of Colchester’s Third Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan in 2003, urged the Government to stay the course.
Mr Wright said: “If the Taleban are not beaten there, they will be here, although the Government should have thought about it more before rushing in.
“We need to give the guys what they need to complete the job and then get out.
“We are there now, so we need to wipe out the Taleban and get kids back to school and help sort out the country, and then leave.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, a military expert who commanded British forces in Afghanistan in 2003, backed Mr Wright’s calls.
He said: “We should not come back and have to stick to our strategy. We have to do as much as we can to reduce the capability of the Taleban.”
Col Kemp, who went to Colchester Royal Grammar School, voiced doubts over whether the Afghan security forces would be able to cope if foreign troops left.
Sir Bob Russell, MP for Colchester and a member of the Commons defence select committee, said: “I think leaving now would be the wrong thing to do.
“It would indicate that everything that has been done by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, and in particular 16 Air Assault Brigade, has in some way been pointless when in fact they have done a fantastic job in bringing hope for the future to the people of Afghanistan, the overwhelming majority of whom don’t want the Taleban back.
“For this country to pull out and leave Afghanistan to revert back to a lawless rogue state exporting terrorism around the world would be wrong and we have a duty to the memory of those who have lost their lives to continue what is a UN-approved course of action.”
Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, and Pte Daniel Wade, 20, were killed in Tuesday’s armoured vehicle explosion, bringing the total number of British troops killed to 404.
Colchester troops have completed four tours of Afghanistan.