MoD investigation into mail delays for Afghanistan troops

BAFF comment: These are by no means the first claims of unacceptable delays in mail to HM Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan, but reported complaints have been rising recently. Our understanding that the mail service is constrained by limitations in the strategic air bridge i.e. not enough modern long-range aircraft, and in-theatre problems which may be outwith the control of the BFPO organisation. A previous official excuse was that if it is between putting ammunition or mail on a particular helicopter, the choice is obvious - which of course it is - but there should be enough transport to carry what the troops need with reasonable frequency. It appeared during previous tours that some units had actively decided not to attempt a regular mail service to FOBs.

This is from the Bradford Telegraph & Argus:

Shipley grandfather's plea sparks investigation

9:31am Thursday 22nd October 2009

A Ministry of Defence investigation has begun into claims a Bradford soldier and his fellow Yorkshire troops serving in the war-torn Afghan desert have not been receiving letters of support sent from home.

David Bryan, 73, of Nab Wood Drive, Shipley, contacted the T&A and MP Philip Davies after it emerged that gifts of sweets and letters were not getting through to the front because of major transport problems.

His grandson, Shaun, 19, and colleagues in the 3rd Batallion, The Yorkshire Regiment, had not received gifts from their families because there had been problems getting from the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) base to “forward operating bases” in lawless Helmand province.

Former serviceman Mr Bryan said the situation was seriously affecting morale, and urged Mr Davies to pass on a letter to the Ministry of Defence to highlight his concerns.

In a response, Quentin Davies, the Government minister responsible for military equipment and support, wrote: “The matter is now being thoroughly investigated out in Afghanistan, and the BFPO customer services team, who are in direct contact with Mr Bryan, will inform him of the outcome of the investigation as soon as it is known.” ...

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