After calls by President Trump to NATO allies to join the U.S. and send more troops into Afghanistan, the UK defense secretary has written to Theresa May recommending the UK boosts its military presence in the country.
Currently, there are more than 600 troops in the capital of Kabul, there helping train local Afghan Security Forces.
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said he understood that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson recommended sending up to 400 more army personnel into Afghanistan, joining the 600 already there training Afghan soldiers.
The UK troops would help train Afghan forces and not be in combat.
In 2017, the US announced a plan to send in thousands more troops, which would bring 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 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 national 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 added.
“The only way this war is going to end is when the Taliban realise they can’t fight their way back to government. They have to resort to dialogue.”
This comes at a time when the size of the British Army is the smallest in more than 200 years. Currently, the army has just over 77,000 troops, well short of its goal of 82,000.
The UK defense ministry cites several factors for the low numbers including the end of combat operations in the region, a pay freeze and the Army’s recruitment process which has been beset by glitches in their computer system which has slowed the process.
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Photo courtesy AP
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