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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2006, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
UK troops attacked in Afghanistan
British soldiers in Afghanistan
British troops took fire from Taleban fighters hiding in a hospital
British troops say they have come under fire from Taleban fighters hiding in a hospital in southern Afghanistan.

A military statement said forces in Helmand province defending a government compound were under sustained attack.

But they did not attack the building in case there were civilians inside, said the Ministry of Defence.

The latest clash comes as former Conservative Prime Minister John Major called for greater clarity about the role of British troops in Afghanistan.

British military spokesman Captain Drew Gibson told Reuters news agency the latest attack on UK forces was the 27th in 18 days.

"Our forces are coming under fire from a hospital. It appears it is a deliberate attempt to draw us into firing back at the hospital."

I think there is certainly going to be a need for better equipment, better back ups, more troops
John Major
Former Conservative leader

It was announced last week that nearly 900 more troops are to be sent to Helmand, bringing the total number in Afghanistan to 4,500.

Mr Major said this was not enough for the mission and he also criticised their equipment as inadequate.

He told the BBC's Sunday AM programme: "If it is of the scale that it now seems to be, then I think there is certainly going to be a need for better equipment, better back ups, more troops, much greater liaison with NATO and perhaps more troops other than from the United Kingdom."

He added that it was crucial they had "an absolutely clear and unmistakeable mission that is achievable" and a clear "exit strategy".




SEE ALSO
UK troops take Taleban stronghold
16 Jul 06 |  South Asia
'Heavy fighting' in Afghan south
15 Jul 06 |  South Asia
Extra UK troops arrive in Kabul
13 Jul 06 |  South Asia



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