Philip Hammond has admitted that Nato forces are finding it "difficult" to defend their main base in Afghanistan's Helmand province from Taliban attack.
Private Thomas Wroe, 18, left, and Sergeant Gareth Thursby, 29, were shot and fatally wounded by a rogue Afghan Local Policeman in Check Point Tora in the Nahr-e-Saraj District of Helmand Province Photo: MoD
By James Kirkup
4:03PM BST 17 Sep 2012
Mr Hammond, speaking in the Commons after a weekend attack on Camp Bastion, told MPs that securing a base with an area similar to that of Reading, was inevitably a struggle.
British and American troops on Friday night had to fight off a significant Taliban force which breached security at Camp Bastion, where Prince Harry is stationed.
A number of aircraft, hangars and other buildings at the base were hit and badly damaged by insurgent fire during the attack.
The attack was one of several incidents over the weekend that left two British soldiers and four Americans dead.
Camp Bastion is the centre of British operations in Afghanistan, and also host to a large US Marine Corp presence.
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Despite its extensive garrison, numerous fences and remote location, Mr Hammond admitted that defending the base is highly challenging.
“It is difficult to defend a site of this size, particularly when faced with a suicidal attack,” he said.
Mr Hammond told MPs that “a number of improvements” have been made in base security since the attack, including an increase in perimeter patrols
People living in several villages and settlement close to the base’s fence line have been told they must move “so that we will have a clearer field of fire,” Mr Hammond said.
Tags: Afghanistan, Occupation, US, NATO, Taliban, Pakistan, terrorist, Punjabi, ISI, Al, Qaeda
Location: Afghanistan (load item map)
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