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Don’t Mention the War

In the run up to the General Election, embedded British reporters are going to be banned from reporting on the Afghan war. Operation Moshtarak, the kill Afghans while politely smiling exercise is about to enter a new more difficult phase. UK troops could face their heaviest losses for years, but information about those losses will only be provided through MOD briefings.

Operation Moshtarak involves 4,000 British troops – and a further 10,000 Americans and Afghans – it represents the UK’s largest full-scale combat operation for seven years.

This ban is being imposed because the War is likely to be a sensitive issue during the election, especially if troop losses are high.

So far, 271 British soldiers have died in the Afghan war.

Soldier from the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh at patrol Base Shaheed providing security and dominating the ground.

Gordon Brown has already used British troops as political props in the run up to this election. He was heaily criticised for his responses to the the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War, where he failed to properly deal with charges that he underfunded the Army during the Iraq War – resulting in increased numbers of military deaths. His responses were called disingenuous by former Army Chiefs. As a result, there are calls for Brown to be recalled by the Inquiry Team.

Within hours of his Chilcot appearance he was visiting troops in Afghanistan.

While in Afghanistan he pledged 200 new Light Protection Patrol Vehicles (LPPVs) would be dispatched to replace the Snatch Land Rover models which have led to dozens of deaths. The MOD has confirmed that the original order was originally for 400 cars.

Nick Gurr, the MoD’s director of media and communications, says “embeds” for all British news broadcasters and national journalists will be prohibited during the election which will also coincide with the increased risk to troops.

“Embeds”, are reporters who live in a military base and therefore gain military protection. For that safety, they are already restricted on what they can report, but it represents the only safe way a reporter can report the war.

It is said that in war, the first casualty is truth. Especially when there is an election.

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