Code 68469
PublishDate: Sunday, October 20, 2013 11:41

UK failure to address ‘security lapses’ at Afghan base

UK Defence Secretary and Chief of the Defence Staff have been accused of failing to thoroughly address allegations of UK security lapses.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Houghton have been accused tonight of failing to thoroughly address allegations of UK security lapses which left Camp Bastion vulnerable to a devastating Taliban attack.

The night assault by 15 heavily armed fighters cost the lives of two US marines and saw 16 British and American soldiers wounded. Attackers were able to walk past an empty watchtower and reach the airfield at the base in Afghanistan, where eight Harrier jets were destroyed or seriously damaged in the five-hour battle that ensued.

A US army investigation into last September’s attack, which took five months, resulted in the sacking of two US generals earlier this month.

Mr Hammond confirmed last week that a review would be done into the US report.

The full findings – running to around 1,000 pages – containing damning criticisms of security lapses by British commanders, were received by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last Sunday.

But last night the MoD said it had “considered its findings in detail” and decided that “no further UK action is required” – meaning that it has taken the ministry just five days to give itself the all-clear.

The UK was responsible for protecting Camp Bastion, yet in contrast to their US colleagues, two of the most senior UK commanders at the base have since been promoted.

Madeleine Moon MP, a member of the Defence Select Committee, told The Independent: “I am amazed that the MoD has completed its review in the brief time between General Houghton appearing before the Defence Committee on Wednesday afternoon and late Friday afternoon. There must have been a sudden sense of urgency.

“To have any credibility this review must be placed in the public domain. I feel confident that the Defence Committee will want to consider both the US report and do

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