A round-up of today’s newspaper articles covering the UK’s involvement in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations at home and abroad.
General Sir Richard Dannatt calls for ‘aid army’
Britain’s top soldier has called for the Army to draw up plans for a complementary military force which specialises in bringing stability and aid to unstable foreign nations.
General Sir Richard Dannatt, chief of the general staff, said the Army’s future role would be to provide long-term support for troubled nations, rather than prepare to defend Britain in a large-scale war.
Britain was more likely to be involved in “liberal interventionism” abroad and soldiers would have to take on the tasks more commonly performed by international aid and development organisations.
He said troops’ training should include work delivering aid or working in an undeveloped country’s police force, which would help create an Army “capable of both fighting alongside local forces and delivering tasks in area where the civil agencies cannot operate”.
Army’s future is abroad, UK’s top soldier tells security conference
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian
Britain needs more troops, says Army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt
John Bingham, The Telegraph
Lieutenant Colonel shot by Taliban is most senior Afghanistan casualty
John Bingham, The Telegraph
A battalion commander has been shot in the leg during an operation in Afghanistan, becoming the most senior British officer injured in action in the country.
Lieutenant Colonel David Richmond, Commanding Officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was leading an operation near Musa Qaleh in Helmand Province on Thursday when he was hit by a Taliban bullet.
It is understood that the 41-year-old was caught “out in the open” during an engagement with enemy forces. He was airlfted straight to a field hospital. The Ministry of Defence refused to comment on how serious his injury is.
Stop Tamil Tigers raising money in UK, says President Rajapaksa
Richard Beeston, The Times
Britain stands accused of applying double standards to its counter-terrorism policy because a banned Tamil militant group is being allowed to raise money among expatriates in London.
President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka said that supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were able to raise millions of pounds each year from the Tamil community in Britain, some of whom were coerced into donating the money.
“You can’t have two different attitudes towards terrorism,” he told The Times this week during a visit to London for a Commonwealth meeting, where he raised the issue with Gordon Brown. “I don’t agree that there are good terrorists and bad terrorists. There is only one kind of terrorist.”
There are about 150,000 Tamils living in Britain, mostly in North London. The Sri Lankans estimate that £70million is sent home every year.
A postman who left a hoax bomb on a bridge and sent white powder in the post to leading figures, including Tony Blair, has been jailed for four years.
Jefferson Azevedo, 45, sent letters with white powder or Nazi slogans to various people between 2003 and 2007.
Azevedo, of Langley Road, Portsmouth, admitted 19 offences – nine of them under the Terrorism Act. He agreed for another 140 to be considered.
Brazilian-born Azevedo was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.
Altogether he targeted more than 150 organisations and individuals, including schools, MPs, charities, media organisations, mosques and churches.
Soldier died in vehicle lacking defence system
Nigel Bunyan, The Telegraph
A coroner has called for a change in Army policy after a soldier fighting in Afghanistan died in an armoured vehicle that had not been fitted with electronic equipment capable of disabling roadside bombs.
Guardsman Neil ‘Tony’ Downes, 20, from Droylesden, Greater Manchester, was blown 20 metres into a ditch when insurgents detonated a bomb by remote control. The vehicle in front of him was equipped with an ECM (Electronic Counter Measure) and therefore survived the attack.