Saturday, March 01, 2008

Afghanistan arrivals received mixed reception

Troops march in Essex, and [right] Afghan refugees on M25

Prince Harry touched down at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire today, returning after a 10 week tour of duty in Afghanistan [BBC / Sky News / CNN]. He had been expected to serve a further month, but the MoD cut short his visit to the front line after news leaked that he was fighting in the country. His visit has been criticized by some commentators as an expensive publicity stunt by the MoD. But many members of the public have commended the Prince for his efforts in fighting in the war on terror.
Harry was met by his brother, William, and his father Prince Charles. But there was no public welcome home, only a few members of the press. The picture was very different to the east of London as hundreds greeted a march through Brentwood of the 1st Battalion of the Anglian Regiment, two thirds of whom have served in Afghanistan. The battalion has lost 9 members in the fighting. Crowds waving union flags clapped in appreciation of the troops as some shouted “well done” as they marched by.
Some arrivals from Afghanistan were less welcome. Police were called on Monday this week to a lorry on the M25 where they detained 8 illegal immigrants who had stowed away in the back of the HGV. The German lorry driver was not detained, but the 8 Afghani nationals were taken to a number of police stations for processing by the Border & Immigration Agency.

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