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'Anger and sense of waste' for families of Afghanistan dead as troops sent back to Helmand to help save Sangin

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Library image of British troops in Helmand, Afghanistan

'Anger and sense of waste' for families of Afghanistan dead as troops sent back to Helmand to help save Sangin

British military advisers have been deployed back to Helmand as Taliban insurgents overrun most of the district of Sangin

The Telegraph
By Ben Farmer
and Danielle Moylan
22 December 2015

Families of troops killed or maimed in Helmand have spoken of their anger and sense of waste after the Taliban overran a district that more than 100 British soldiers and marines died trying to stabilise.

Taliban fighters were on Tuesday in control of most of Sangin district centre, with besieged pockets of Afghan troops holding out in a few government buildings.

Fleeing residents said the insurgents had been executing captured security officials in the street and food had begun to run low for those trapped by the fighting.

A small team of British military advisers arrived in the province to try to bolster the demoralised local troops, though the Ministry of Defence stressed they would not join the fighting.

The assault on the opium growing heartland of Sangin follows months of Taliban gains in the province and the loss of several districts since British combat troops pulled out of Helmand in October 2014.

Diane Dernie, whose son Ben Parkinson suffered brain damage and lost both his legs in the province in 2006, said the loss of the town had left her feeling “sadness and anger”.

She said: “But most of all desperate, desperate sense of waste, and fear that we are still not learning the lessons and that it’s British troops that are going to pay the price for a failure to learn.”

The Afghan campaign had been underfunded, under-defined and under-supported, she said.

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