British forces wasted three years in Afghanistan during which time almost 200 troops were killed because they were 'under-resourced, a senior commander claimed yesterday. Major General Gordon Messenger, the spokesman for the head of the Armed Forces, admitted 'the scale of the challenge was not matched by the resources allocated to it. The general, who served as a brigade commander in Afghanistan until April last year, said only now were 'sufficient troop numbers in place to carry out a successful counter-insurgency. He told the Commons defence select committee: 'For the first time now we are seeing enough resources in place that match the security challenges and other challenges that we face, and theyve been there long enough to have an effect. 'I commanded a brigade, alongside an Afghan brigade commander, that was stretched and was not able to go to certain key areas where we knew we would ultimately have to go in order to secure the population. Colonel Christopher Langton, a retired Army officer and analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, agreed the UK military had 'lost an opportunity in Helmand because of troop shortages. In 2006, British forces deployed to Helmand to crush the Taliban with just 3,000 servicemen. By this year, there were more than 30,000 coalition troops in the lawless province following a U.S. 'surge. MPs on the committee were investigating why it had taken so long for the Nato coalition to realise more troops were needed. LibDem MP Mike Hancock questioned why it had taken so long to boost manpower at a time when Labour ministers were insisting that commanders got the resources they asked for. (The Dailymail)