Britain considers sending more troops to Afghanistan

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London, May 18 (IANS) The British government is considering sending more troops to Afghanistan, the media reported on Friday.

The British military had written to Prime Minister Theresa May recommending the country boost its presence in Afghanistan, but no decision has been made yet, the BBC reported.

According to the report, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson recommended sending up to 400 more Army personnel into Afghanistan, joining the 600 already there training Afghan soldiers.

The move followed calls by US President Donald Trump to the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to join him in sending more troops to the country.

In 2017, the US announced a plan to send in 3,500 more troops, which brings the US total to about 15,000. It is part of a strategy to help fight the Taliban and deal with the rising threat from the Islamic State terror group.

The last UK combat troops left Afghanistan in 2014 after being involved in the conflict since 2001.

General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of joint forces command who led campaigns in Afghanistan, said the UK “has to recognise that the decision to leave in 2014… hasn’t worked”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the Army and Air Force in Afghanistan were “not strong enough” to defeat the Taliban alone.

“The decision to increase troops would send an important message to our allies, and the Taliban”, he said.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said the UK’s military contribution was kept under constant review. Britain’s support to Afghanistan on security, development and governance was “crucial to building a stable state and reducing the terrorist threat to the UK”, it said.

The reports came as the Defence Ministry figures, published on Thursday, showed the size of the UK Army was at its smallest for more than 200 years.

The UK’s regular Army has just over 77,000 troops, well short of its target strength of 82,000.



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