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Do UK troops in Afghanistan have the right back up?

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Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth came under criticism on Monday over a shortage of military equipment in Afghanistan, where 15 British soldiers have been killed in the past two weeks.

The deaths highlight the shortage of helicopters, especially Chinooks, which can carry large numbers of troops and equipment over long distances, say the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

The parties argue that the troops are in difficult circumstances and too vulnerable on the ground.

More helicopters and vehicles will be sent to the war zone next year, Ainsworth said. For now, helicopter flying hours have been increased.

Is Britain paying too high a price in Afghanistan?

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The death toll among British troops in Afghanistan is rising fast.  The soldier who died on Tuesday was the seventh to die in the last week and the 176th since the war began.

Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe became the highest ranking British soldier to die in the conflict in Afghanistan when he was killed in Helmand. British commanders are quoted as saying things are going to get worse before they get better.

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