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Profile at the Daily Telegraph

"Unless we retain, gain and win the consent of the population within Helmand, we lose the campaign," he previously said. "The population is the prize." He has been vocal in the past, claiming in March that a British failure to deliver economic development or reconstruction for ordinary Afghans meant that "one of the central tenets of counter-insurgency doctrine is failing."

He has also criticised troop equipment in the past - in a secret memo published in the book Operation Snakebite by Stephen Grey, he said much of the equipment was "tired, limited and failing regularly".

His troops were responsible for recapturing the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala in the north of Helmand in December 2007. From his "hole in the ground" on Roshan Hill, a high point above the town, he spent five days watching as the town was finally captured, an action later described as the "best operation to come out of Afghanistan in years" by the Pentagon. He played a personal role in the operation when he walked for nearly a mile across no man's land to reach the town and take up position on the Hill................

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