Doomed youth

THE shock to this country of losing six soldiers in one day – at a time when the Government is insistent that the situation in Afghanistan is steadily improving – has only been compounded by the realisation of how young they were.

The fact that four of these latest victims of Taliban savagery were under the age of 22 has only served to bring home the reality of the sacrifices that are being made in this continuing conflict.

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And nowhere is this being felt more deeply than in Huddersfield where three of these young men had families. This West Yorkshire town is now in a state of mourning and the rest of the country can find few words of comfort other than to acknowledge that, for all their youth, these were incredibly brave men who were prepared to sacrifice their all in the struggle against a vicious and implacable foe.

The deaths of these proud representatives of the Yorkshire Regiment rightly raise many questions – about the equipment they were using, about the progress towards peace and stability that Afghanistan is supposedly making and about this country’s attitude towards a military commitment which, as the Taliban knows all too well, will shortly come to an end.

But, of the courage, selflessness and dedication of these young men who have given their lives in the service of their country, there can be no question at all.