Afghanistan 'not our war' says mother of dead soldier
The mother of a South Yorkshire soldier who was killed in Afghanistan has said too many servicemen are dying in a conflict which is "not our war".
The funeral of Sharon Leverett's son, Trooper James Leverett, has taken place at Sheffield Cathedral.
Trooper Leverett, from Rawmarsh, died earlier this month while serving with The Royal Dragoon Guards, Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron.
He died just a couple of months ahead of the birth of his first child.
Remembering her son, Mrs Leverett said she did not feel she was qualified to make a fully informed judgment about the UK's role in Afghanistan.
She said: "Obviously I don't think they should be there, but that's my personal opinion.
"I don't think this was ever our war in the first place. But they're out there. They're doing their job.
"They're doing what they can. They're doing their best and we've just got to support them in that."
She added: "Obviously something does need to be sorted because we're losing too many people out there.
"There's too many families going through what I'm going through.
"I do think we shouldn't be there, I do think this is not our war."
Mrs Leverett, 37, said her son had joined the Army when he was 18, and knew he had made the right decision despite not looking forward to going to Afghanistan.
She described the Army as being one of his "three families", saying: "He had us, he had his friends and he had the Army, so he was lucky."
She said he had been "over the moon" when he had found out he was going to be a father.
His girlfriend Tiffany Lound discovered their baby was going to be a boy the day after the family received the news about Trooper Leverett's death.
The baby is due in September.
She said: "Obviously I'm proud because he was doing what he wanted to do.
"Although I knew he didn't want to go out there in the first place, he knew that that was what he joined for and he did it and that's kept me strong really."
Mrs Leverett said her son had been very close to his family and also loved his Staffordshire bull terrier, Bullseye.
He lived with his mother, stepfather Tony Weighell and his three brothers and had planned to get a house with his girlfriend next year.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Trooper Leverett left Miss Lound a letter to be opened only if he was killed in action.
It told her not to cry and to put all her energy into bringing up their baby.
Trooper Leverett was killed by an improvised explosive device while on a vehicle patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.
He was helping to secure a route under construction between Lashkar Gah and Gereshk.
After his death, Lt Col James Carr-Smith, the Commanding Officer of The Royal Dragoon Guards, said he had been "a model soldier".
Maj Denis James, the officer commanding his squadron, described Trooper Leverett as a "man of the highest quality".