RNA - According to the Times newspaper, some 14 former and serving army personnel have killed themselves in the past two months alone.
EXCL: A recent surge in suicides by veterans of the Afghan war has sparked alarm.
Defence minister Johnny Mercer has raised concern over “cluster” of deaths in past two months & has expedited a new mental health service for former soldiers.
Times p1 -https://t.co/JyBAxfFmbA
— Lucy Fisher (@LOS_Fisher) March 2, 2020
This unusually high number is compounded by the fact that all the deceased are from a “particular grouping” involved in Operation Herrick, which guided all avowed British military actions in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2014.
The government’s response to this apparent emergency has been muted, with John Mercer, the minister for veterans, merely expressing “concern” at the spike in deaths.
The latest spike comes against the backdrop of repeated warnings by British military chiefs of the deteriorating mental health of serving military personnel and veterans alike.
Last November, the former head of the army, General Lord Dannatt, warned that suicide among veterans has become an “epidemic of our time”.
Whilst the precise reasons for the latest spike in suicides is largely unknown, disillusionment with the British military in general, and the UK’s pointless military intervention in Afghanistan in particular, are believed to be major factors.
The widespread disillusionment in the British army is likely to be compounded by the recent announcement of a so-called peace deal between the United States and the Afghan Taliban.
The deal is likely to intensify widespread feelings amongst British veterans of Afghan military campaigns that the entire effort had been in vain.
That feeling is likely to be compounded by the British government’s mixed messaging on the so-called peace deal.
The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, played down the significance of the so-called peace deal by describing it in reductive terms as a “small but important step”.
By contrast, Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, glorified the deal as a “significant moment in the pursuit of peace”.
Today’s news is an important breakthrough and a hopeful day for all Afghans who have suffered for far too long. Important the Taliban delivers on its commitments: we hope momentum can be maintained and talks between Afghan govt and Taliban can now begin. https://t.co/6WB89SOOo4
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) February 29, 2020