Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 13:35 UK

Soldier takes war protest to PM

L/Cpl Joe Glenton
L/Cpl Joe Glenton outside Downing Street after delivering the letter

A serving soldier who is refusing to return to Afghanistan has delivered a letter to the prime minister urging him to "bring our soldiers home".

L/Cpl Joe Glenton, of the Royal Logistic Corps, delivered his letter to 10 Downing Street on Thursday.

He said: "I know that the Afghan people are very resilient. I can't see us getting much further."

The soldier, who lives in York, faces a preliminary court martial on Monday for refusing to go back to Afghanistan.

In his letter he claims the war in Afghanistan is being fought in the interests of US foreign policy.

Nimrod crash

L/Cpl Glenton is believed to be the first serving soldier to speak out against the government's policy.

He said that a Nimrod crash in 2006 was a key event which left him disillusioned with the war during his first tour of Afghanistan.

Fourteen men were killed when an RAF Nimrod spy plane exploded over Afghanistan on 2 September 2006, shortly after undergoing air-to-air refuelling.

The war in Afghanistan is... bringing death and devastation to their country - Britain has no business there
L/Cpl Joe Glenton

L/Cpl Glenton said: "Carrying coffins from where they were stored by forklift truck down to the medical centre, that's certainly something that has stayed with me, humping bodies around on this forklift truck."

Taliban forces and the British Army are simply "grinding each other down" and achieving nothing, he said.

The soldier went on: "I don't believe our cause is just. I think it's adversely affecting the Afghan people as well as the British Army and their families.

"I think it has become part of the problem rather than the solution."

He has already served in Afghanistan and was due to return, but he refused and is currently on leave.

He is facing a preliminary court martial hearing in Oxfordshire next week.

Chris Nineham, of the Stop The War Coalition, said it was a "very significant moment" in the campaign against the Afghanistan conflict.

He said: "There is no question there is a lot of dissatisfaction and discontent among the armed forces about Britain's involvement in Afghanistan and L/Cpl Glenton is the first serving soldier to express these views."

Since the war in Afghanistan began eight years ago, 191 UK service personnel have died.

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L/Cpl Joe Glenton's letter to the PM
30 Jul 09 |  North Yorkshire

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