Saturday, March 3, 2012

Army accused of covering up almost 150 airstrikes on Taliban by unmanned drones

Image: Major General Andrew Mackay, said the mission in Afghanistan had been a 'series of misadventures and strategic blunders'

Britain was accused tonight of covering up nearly 60 per cent of airstrikes by controversial drones in Afghanistan.

Nearly 150 attacks by RAF unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Taliban fighters are 'secret and unreported', an investigation has found.

The figures were published as the senior UK officer who led Prince Harry in to battle in Helmand said UAV strikes on key insurgent commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan made peace less likely.

In a scathing assessment of the 11-year conflict Major General Andrew Mackay, who commanded British forces in the warzone in 2007, said the mission in Afghanistan had been a 'series of misadventures and strategic blunders'.

Maj Gen Mackay, 52, who led 52 Brigade when it wrested the key town of Musa Qala from the enemy, said: 'I am perfectly relaxed about killing the Taliban.

'Where I think we get it horribly wrong is when we do indiscriminate drone attacks on the Taliban leadership across in Pakistan or in Afghanistan without understanding the consequences of those attacks.'

The MoD vehemently denied covering up details of drone attacks, insisting that those not published often had security implications. Read More