UK may send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan

By staff

The government is allegedly discussing plans to send up to 1,000 extra troops to the campaign in Afghanistan following an urgent call for reinforcements by Nato commander General Stanley McChrystal.

The General’s report – which has not yet been officially published but was leaked to The Washington Post – will request up to 30,000 extra troops to support a new strategy in the region – most of which will be met by the US.

The report warns that without the reinforcements, the war is likely to “result in failure” within a year.

“Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating,” the General wrote.

The report also says the troops are necessary to train the Afghan Army in order to ensure a future exit strategy.

Downing Street spokespeople confirmed yesterday that a detailed request for further troop deployment is being drawn up to be presented to the prime minister.

However, Gordon Brown had previously turned down a recommendation for an increase in troops to the region by former defence secretary John Hutton.

General McChrystal’s report is critical of past and current strategy in Afghanistan and calls for changes in attitude and better communication between troops of different countries and also between Nato allied forces and locals.

“Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us from the people we seek to protect… The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves,” the General said.

However, with the UK death toll now standing at well over 200, it may be difficult for the government to win public support for the move.