British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has agreed in principle to bolster the UK’s military force in Afghanistan.
He told parliament an extra 500 troops would be deployed, providing key conditions were met. Those included assurances soldiers would get the right equipment and that allies also made a contribution. “The combination of force levels, equipment levels and tasks that I’m setting out today follows the clear military advice from our chiefs of staff and from our commanders on the ground on implementing our strategy, reducing the risk to our forces and it’s on this basis that I’ve agreed in principle to a new British force level of 9,500, which will be put into effect once these conditions are met,” he told parliament. NATO chiefs are demanding an extra 40,000 troops in Afghanistan. For some the latest British contribution is purely symbolic. ‘‘The commanding officer of US troops says they need 40,000 more troops. This is at a time when the Dutch government and the Canadian government are setting timetables for withdrawal. So this is really a fig leaf, meant to convey to the Americans that we support them, when in actual fact it’ll make no military difference whatsoever,’‘ anti-war campaigner Jonathan Reiss said. The decision by Britain to add to its 9000 strong force in Afghanistan comes at a time of growing public disquiet about mounting troop losses.