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 UK To Boost Afghanistan Troops

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PostSubject: UK To Boost Afghanistan Troops   Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:05 am

I think this is an absolute outrage, and as for being ''properly equipped'' - well............

The UK may have to increase its military presence in Afghanistan if the case for a "short-term uplift" is made by the United States, the head of the Army said.

General Sir Richard Dannatt said any decision on increasing the number of service personnel in the country would be a matter for the Government, but suggested it would not be beyond the Army's capability.

He also said a reduction in troop numbers from 9,000 after the Afghan elections in August would be the "wrong thing to do".

Gen Dannatt, who is retiring as Chief of General Staff later this month, argued that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) may have to use money allocated for other projects to finance the war in Afghanistan if it cannot convince the Treasury to provide additional resources.

And he said he would present ministers with a "shopping list" to help protect troops from roadside bombs.

A bloody start to July in Afghanistan, which saw the deaths of 15 UK service personnel in just 10 days, has sparked a debate about whether operations in the country are being adequately financed. There have been reports that military chiefs requested an additional 2,000 troops but were rebuffed.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has insisted that UK troops in Afghanistan are "properly equipped" and promised: "We will do whatever is necessary and what is right to equip our Armed Forces."

Asked on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme whether he had requested 2,000 troops, Gen Dannatt said that figure was not officially in the public domain.

And he added: "Two thousand troops as an ask like that, we have not asked for as such. What I will point to is the way our force in Afghanistan has increased from about 3,500 this time three years ago to 9,000 where we are now.

"Now there is a thought out there that, from 9,000 that we are growing up to, that it might come down to 8,300. My observation from looking at this operation over the last couple of days is that that would be the wrong thing to do''
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