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UK commander in Afghanistan resigns

  • Story Highlights
  • Major Sebastian Morley cited only personal reasons for leaving
  • But British newspaper reported Saturday that Morley "resigned in disgust"
  • Newspaper reported Morley especially angry over June deaths of 4 of his soldiers
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The commander of British special forces in Afghanistan, who has in the past expressed concerns about military equipment failures, has resigned, the Ministry of Defense said Saturday.

A ministry spokesman said Major Sebastian Morley, head of the Britain's SAS forces in Afghanistan, cited only personal reasons when he resigned Friday.

The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, however, reported Saturday that Morley "resigned in disgust" because military commanders and government officials repeatedly ignored his warnings about the safety of Snatch Land Rovers used by the British Army in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense spokesman, who declined to be named in line with policy, said Morley had previously expressed concerns about military equipment but did not mention that in his resignation.

"Equipping our personnel is a clear priority and we are absolutely focused on providing them with a range of vehicles that will protect them from the ever-shifting threats posed by the enemy," the ministry said in a statement Saturday.

"Just this week we announced a 700 million pound ($1.1 billion) spend on more than 700 new and upgraded armored vehicles," the ministry said. "This was on top of the 10 billion pounds ($16.2 billion) of new equipment delivered to the forces in the past three years."

The Telegraph reported Morley was especially angry over the June 17 deaths in Afghanistan of four of his soldiers, including Corporal Sarah Bryant, the first female British soldier to die in Afghanistan.

The soldiers died when an explosion hit their vehicle near Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan. The Telegraph reported the soldiers had been traveling in a Snatch Land Rover.

In his resignation letter, Morley said "chronic underinvestment" in equipment by the Ministry of Defense was to blame for their deaths, according to the Telegraph.

The Ministry of Defense describes Snatch Land Rovers as protected patrol vehicles for use in "low-threat areas." Originally used in Northern Ireland, they are now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ministry says.

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