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Posted by Richard Monday, January 08, 2007 , , ,

The television device this evening had reporter Sean Langan filming alongside British troops, and with Afghani police and troops in the town of Garmser - taking on the Taliban. This was for the Channel 4 Dispatches programme.

Langan makes some play of the fact that the British are fighting in unarmoured WIMIK Land Rovers and, in one instance, a soldier is wounded – shot in the lower arm. Interestingly, he is extracted from the fire zone in one of the two vehicles operated by a small contingent of Estonian troops.

We are not told why this is so but can guess. Unlike the British Land Rovers, these are armoured. They are in fact, Mamba APCs, nine of which were acquired by the Estonian Army from er… the British, who disposed of them of a fraction of their original price, as surplus to requirements.

The actual machines, in British colours, are shown below - the short-wheel-base version, also known as the Alvis 8 or the Acorn. They are exactly the same, right down to the dinky little storage bins on the sides.

I doubt whether any of the British troops at the scene knew the story but, if they did, no one mentioned it. Nor did Sean Langan, who doubtless would not have known the background – and thereby missed a good story (there's unusual for you).

But how galling it is that British troops are exposed to fire in unarmoured vehicles, while our allies are able to take protection in cut-price armoured vehicles sold to them by our own caring, sharing MoD.

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