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I back Afghanistan war that took my son

The father of a Northern Ireland soldier killed in Afghanistan has said he still supports the decision to send troops into the war-ravaged country despite the rising death toll.

Nigel Moffett snr was speaking as the number of British servicemen who have died since the start of the conflict rose to 300 yesterday.

A Royal Marine from 40 Commando lost his battle for life in Birmingham's New Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Sunday. He had been hurt in a blast in the Sangin district of Helmand on June 12.

Mr Moffet’s son, also called Nigel, died in Afghanistan on May 30, 2009.

The 28-year-old of the Light Dragoons was killed, along with Corporal Stephen Bolger (30), of 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, by a landmine near the village of Chadi in Helmand province.

Their deaths, just over a year ago, took the number of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001 to 165.

Mr Moffett said he would prefer it if their loved ones did not have to go to war but accepted that as servicemen and women, it was their duty.

He said the question of whether British troops should be there was one best left answered by the Government.

Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron, who recently warned the UK to expect more casualties during the summer, acknowledged that many people questioned the country's role in light of the rising death toll.

“I have always said that it’s the Government that makes these decisions,” Mr Moffett said. “Whether they should still be there is dependent on whether they can do anything.

“If the Government still think we are doing some kind of good over there then we obviously have to stay. It’s an untenable position.

“I would always be an advocate for peace, but whilst we are at war we support them.”

He added: “It would be marvellous if they could simply pull out but there would be ramifications from that.

“I couldn’t tell you if it’s yes or no, all I know is that my son was a soldier in the British Army and I was extremely proud of him because he did his duty and he died doing his duty and I have absolutely no problem with that. I have great pride and immense joy. The sadness is that we lost our son.

“And unfortunately, with soldiering, there are casualties, especially in such a conflict as Afghanistan.”

The Holywood father-of-eight said he wanted to express his most heartfelt sympathy to the family of the soldier who died at the weekend. He said the loss of a loved one in such circumstances was hard because you were left feeling extremely sad but also proud of what they had done.

He also said that while time does heal, it still leaves some scars.

“When people ask if it gets easier, it does in a way, but there are still some consequences left over.

“Every time the phone rings I am frightened. I don’t think someone is going to talk to me — I expect bad news.

“That is because of the phone call I got telling me that my son had died. I live with that every day. That’s just what happens to me. I wanted to share that in the hope that other people realise they are no different.

“You don’t stop suffering (as time goes on). That is the price I have paid but I am very proud of my son. He died doing his duty.”

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