‘Not enough even for coffee’: UK troops in Afghanistan get £1 each to celebrate Christmas

“They haven’t even sent us enough for a coffee. The Americans send in more money to feed the stray cats on their compound.”

‘Not enough even for coffee’: UK troops in Afghanistan get £1 each to celebrate Christmas:

As PM May praised the military for keeping the UK safe in her Christmas message, troops abroad were not exactly in a festive mood. It has emerged that 500 soldiers in Afghanistan received just £1 each to celebrate the holiday.

Five hundred British troops deployed to Afghanistan were allocated a total of just £500 ($700) for Christmas, the Sunday Times revealed.  Some said the defense chiefs’ frugality left the troops lagging far behind their foreign counterparts as soldiers from the  American contingent reportedly received eight Christmas trees, decorations, turkeys, numerous gifts, and even a copy of the new Star Wars film. 

“The contrast between the American and British approach is staggering,” said a British officer stationed in Kabul. “As an army we don’t have as much money as the US, but even the Danish and Mongolians seem to be doing more,” he noted.

The tight Christmas budget has affected morale, one soldier told the newspaper: “They haven’t even sent us enough for a coffee. The Americans send in more money to feed the stray cats on their compound.”

Christmas festivities for troops from the Yorkshire Regiment have been limited to sneaking out and swapping the stars on the American trees for Yorkshire flags, the paper said. The ministry of defense said arrangements for Christmas festivities “are made locally,” it added.

While cash-strapped, the troops did not feel completely forgotten. “It has been staggering to see the number of parcels that have arrived for us from friends and family,” said the officer. In addition, Christmas lunch was still served on Friday, complimented by snow, which fell last week in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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