UK sending additional 500 troops to Afghanistan

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Map highlighting location of Afghanistan.
Image: Vardion.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that an additional 500 British troops will be sent to Afghanistan. The UK currently has around 9,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

"I believe the decision we are announcing is consistent with what the Americans will decide," Brown stated yesterday. His decision was apparently made "to meet the changing demands of the campaign, which require greater concentration of our forces in central Helmand [Province]". A previous request for an additional 2,000 troops was denied.

After his statement media reports suggested that the decision was based on the United States agreeing in a discussion with Brown to send at least 45,000, but no more than 65,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The White House later denied that any agreement was reached or that President Barack Obama had come to a decision on sending additional troops.

"I would not put any weight behind the fact that a decision has been made, when the President has yet to make a decision. I've seen the report. It's not true, either generally or specifically. The president has not made a decision," said statement issued by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

In September it was reported that Commanding general in Afghanistan, Stanley A. McChrystal, requested an additional U.S. 40,000 troops be sent to Afghanistan stating, "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible." The Washington Post reports the request was sent to the White House in August and President Obama is currently reviewing it.

There are nearly 70,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, and 35,000 troops from other nations.