Page last updated at 07:29 GMT, Sunday, 8 November 2009

PM's equipment pledge to troops

Troops at Remembrance Sunday service in Afghanistan
Troops in Helmand province paid their respects on Remembrance Sunday

The prime minister has promised to do "whatever is necessary" to ensure British forces have the equipment they need in Afghanistan.

On Friday four former chiefs of the defence staff used a House of Lords debate to accuse the government of failing to properly support UK troops.

But Gordon Brown told British Forces Broadcasting Service radio (BFBS) any need for more resources "will be met".

He spoke ahead of Remembrance Sunday services in the UK and Afghanistan.

On Friday Admiral Lord Boyce said the government "did not realise we are at war" while Field Marshal Lord Inge said the armed forces never really believed Mr Brown was "on their side".

Lord Guthrie accused Mr Brown of "dithering" over his pledge to send 500 more soldiers to Afghanistan.

But the PM used his interview to defend the government's spending on the mission - £3.5bn this year on top of the basic defence budget - and pledge his unequivocal support for the troops.

"My commitment is to provide them with the equipment and the resources that they need to do the job that they have got to do," he said.

I think that people should have great pride in the dedication of all our forces
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"I believe that you can look at the record and see how we have increased the vehicles, increased the provision of helicopters, increased the provision of equipment that our troops have.

"We have done more than ever to equip and protect and to safeguard our forces and we will continue to do whatever is necessary."

'Stopping terrorism'

Mr Brown also said improved technical and surveillance capabilities, including greater use of unmanned aerial drone flights, had led to more than 1,000 roadside bombs being disabled in recent months.

"I can say to every one of our forces that where there is a need for equipment and a need for support, that need will be met," he added.

The prime minister also said that soldiers he had spoken to in Afghanistan fully understood why they were fighting.

"They know that the battle is about stopping terrorism in Britain by stopping terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said.

Mr Brown spoke at the end of bloody week in Afghanistan, which included the murders of five British soldiers by an Afghan police recruit they were training.

"People should have great pride in the dedication of all our forces and while, when deaths happen, there is little that one can say by words of comfort, I think there is some consolation over the longer term in knowing that the bravery of troops is second to none," the prime minister said.



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