Britain to put more troops in Afghanistan

Britain will send more troops to Afghanistan as the strength of the international force in the country is boosted to counter rising violence, the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, said yesterday.

At the same time, the US is to ask its Western allies, especially those who have failed to contribute to the military mission, to provide the bulk of $20 billion (£11bn) needed to more than double the size of the Afghan army from 65,000 to 134,000.

One senior US defence official said: "We feel it is only right that those who have not sent troops should pay towards the cost of the Afghan army. It's not just Nato countries, for example we have Japan, the world's second- biggest economy, who have no troops in Afghanistan. Shouldn't they contribute something?"

The boosting of troop numbers will take place alongside changes in the chain of command which will see the US General David McKiernan put in charge of all American forces in the country, hitherto divided into two separate operations, Mr Gates said.

The Ministry of Defence in London confirmed that several hundred extra troops will be sent to Afghanistan in the next deployment of forces. A spokesman said troop numbers were always being kept under review and were dependant on the situation on the ground.

The US is already committed to initially sending about 8,000 extra troops to Afghanistan. General McKiernan, who had asked for three extra brigades, has now asked for a fourth one to tackle the resurgent Taliban.

Mr Gates said he wanted to see fellow Nato members also play a full part in reinforcing the Western military presence in the country. He stressed that apprehension of a Russian resurgence following the Georgian conflict did not pose a military threat to Western Europe and was not a valid reason for some Nato countries to not send troops to Afghanistan.

The US Defence Secretary said British forces in Afghan-istan were doing an "excellent" job. He added that he did not know how many additional troops Britain may send, but expected to find out in talks with British officials.

An MoD spokesman in London stated that US officials have assured them that Mr Gates' remarks were not an attempt to pre-empt a British announcement, or an attempt to "box-in" the UK on a commitment to increasing troop levels.

Mr Gates also said US and Nato commanders have been asked to review their policy on air strikes, after recent Afghan civilian casualties provoked outrage in the country. The policy of carrying out an investigation before taking any action on "collateral damage" would be reversed, with Western forces publicly apologising and paying compensation before starting an inquiry, he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Direct Sales Consultants - OTE £65,000 - £100,000

£65000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This national direct sales com...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Consultant - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Can you sell? Want to earn over...

Recruitment Genius: Partitioners / Carpenter / Multi Skilled Tradesmen / Decorator

£28000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Various opportunities are avail...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Marketing Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company leads the market i...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum