Hasan Suroor

LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday called for the Pakistani Army to be more active in taking the fight to the extremists.

Giving evidence before a committee of senior MPs, Mr. Brown said while there was now a “consensus” in Pakistan to support the military campaign against the Taliban and it appeared to be yielding results more needed to be done.

“What we got to do with Pakistan is to work with Pakistani security forces [to help the campaign],” he said stressing the need for Afghanistan to work in tandem with Pakistan and support its efforts.

Mr. Brown’s remarks came as he was grilled by MPs over his own government’s handling of the war in Afghanistan amid allegations that its failure to provide proper equipment was responsible for the high casualty rate among British troops.

A total of 184 British soldiers have been killed since the invasion eight years ago with eight dying within 24 hours last week.

In a scathing report, the Commons Defence Select Committee pointed out that a shortage of helicopters was undermining British operations in Afghanistan and exposing the troops to avoidable risk.

“Operational commanders in the field today are unable to undertake potentially valuable operations because of the lack of helicopters for transportation around the theatre of operations. We are also concerned that operational commanders find they have to use ground transport, when helicopter lift would be preferred, both for the outcome and for the protection of our forces,” said chairman of the committee James Arbuthnot.

Mr. Brown acknowledged the high casualty rate but denied it was because of lack of resources. “We have spent the right sums of money and we are prepared to do more to ensure our troops are properly equipped,” he said.