'No more': Mum who lost soldier son says troops should not return to Afghanistan

“Enough is enough. We have gained nothing.”

By Nick Frame
Friday, 20th August 2021, 3:09 pm
Nathalie does not want other parents to go through the same devastating experience.
Nathalie does not want other parents to go through the same devastating experience.

These are the words of the mother of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan almost a decade ago.

And she is adamant that Britain should not be sending troops back to the Middle East after the Taliban regained power.

Twenty years after the USA and Britain invaded to remove the regime in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, the fanatical authority regained full control of the country again this week following the withdrawal of all troops.

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Cpl Jake Hartley.

Cpl Jake Hartley, of the Yorkshire Regiment, was killed during a tour of duty in 2012. He was just 20.

His mum, Nathalie Bouzigues, says she still grieves every day, and watching the news has brought the horrors of his death flooding back.

She said: “I do not think we should have any involvement, but my little voice won’t bring change. We can only highlight it.

“We can only bring forward the pain that we are left with and the lives lost, along with those who have been left mentally and physically scarred.

A British patrol in Afghanistan in 2010.

“I don’t think we should go back or have any involvement whatsoever.

“We have done what we can, and it’s cost a lot of lives. Too many. It makes me angry.

“It’s just a waste, but I think there’s no comeback.

“There’s nothing we can do.

“If I’m being really honest, it’s bringing it all back, seeing the women and the children suffering. Jake played a big part and it cost him his life.

“He paid the ultimate sacrifice, but so did the families.

“I do not want any mum to suffer the way I have. Enough is enough. We have gained nothing.

“I just want the MPs to take on board the families and the pain and the impact it has caused.”

Mrs Bouzigues, of Ossett, says she has been left dismayed by the handling of the situation, as criticism of the US and British governments continues to mount up.

She added: “The way we came away - there’s been no tactics. Something should have been put in place for a slower withdrawal process.

“Look at how fast things have happened with the Taliban in the last few days. My fear is for those left there now.”

Cpl Hartley was killed just four days before his 21st birthday on March 6, 2021.

As a member of the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, he died alongside five other soldiers.

The Warrior armoured vehicle they were travelling in was about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, when it was struck by a large improvised explosive device.

It had such force it turned the vehicle on its side and blew off its gun turret.

Cpl Hartley, a former Manor Croft Academy pupil in Dewsbury, was buried at Christ Church in New Mill, Kirklees.

He had completed a previous tour of Afghanistan in 2009, had learned the basics of the language and would often write to his mother for her to send pencils and drawing pads to give to the Afghan youngsters he would meet.

Mrs Bouzigues said: “I’m very proud of what Jake achieved over there, but I just don’t want any other mum to go through it and to live with it every single day.”