The new head of the British army has backed calls to send more soldiers to Afghanistan, warning that losing the war would embolden Al-Qaeda with horrific results.
In one of the fiercest battles in the conflict, on Saturday, taliban militants overran remote outposts, killing eight American soldiers and several Afghan forces. Close to 1,500 western soldiers have died since 2001. Nearly 900 of those were American. 219 were British. This year has been the most deadly yet-with close to 400 casualties. The top Commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan is calling for a change of strategy. General Stanley Mc Chrystal has requested 40,000 more troops and trainers. There are already 100,000 based there. The British army’s Chief of General Staff, General David Richards, agrees. He says Britain is ready to send more soldiers if needed. But Downing Street has said any increase in numbers is some way off and not guaranteed.