I've a funny feeling I am probably breaking the official secrets act, but we DO all know we have troops in Afghanistan, and that they are getting killed. Perhaps for lack of equipment. Allegedly.
But I was recently privileged to read an email sent to friends and family by a serving squaddie.
The first point is they are only allowed 30 minutes a fortnight on the Internet. And maybe not always - it depends - so keeping in touch is difficult in the extreme.
Most of the soldiers are not in a cosy camp somewhere,but up in the mountains looking down into the valleys, and they are unable to wash for many days at a time. They are constantly under sniper fire. They frequently don't get hot meals. This particular squaddie's email referred to being in one position as hell, but the next one along, about a mile away, was heaven - that's where the cooking got done, and every meal had to be collected under a hail of bullets.
Offhandedly, he says: " One of the lads got blown up and unfortunately died before we could do anything for him, but we have had quite a few badly wounded who we have been able to save." Oh, and they spend a month at a time in the bivouacs.
This is the reality in the hills. Several people recently have made the point that the Taliban MUST be beaten.
I don't disagree with that, but the boys in the dirty uniforms need proper support, proper equipment and proper backing from those of us at home.
I simply don't believe they are getting this at present.