Brown makes kit pledge over extra troops

Gordon Brown today gave the go ahead "in principle" for the deployment of an additional 500 British troops to Afghanistan, taking the total UK force in the country to 9,500.

In a Commons statement, the Prime Minister said he was responding to "clear military advice" from the Chiefs of Staff and from military commanders on the ground.

However, he told MPs the reinforcements were dependent on a series of conditions being met - including a requirement that all troops would be fully equipped for the tasks they were being sent to undertake.

Earlier, he came under fire from former defence secretary John Hutton who said it would have been "much more helpful" if the reinforcements had been sent six months ago.

Mr Hutton, who resigned in May at a time when military chiefs were reported to be pressing for up to 2,000 additional troops, warned the Government could "screw it up really badly" if the forces were not given the resources they needed.

He told BBC2's Daily Politics programme: "If this is a mission about national security then you do everything that you need to do to secure it. No ifs and buts, because you've got to prosecute these campaigns absolutely clearly and with the force levels that you need to succeed.

"If you do an economy of force operation here I think you could screw it up really badly."

While the head of the Army, General Sir David Richards said he was "confident" that Mr Brown's criteria would be met, Downing Street was unable to say when the deployment of the additional troops would take place.

As well as the need to ensure they were properly equipped, Mr Brown said there had to be an agreed approach across the international coalition, with all countries, "bearing their fair share".

And with the outcome of the disputed presidential elections still to be decided, he said the next Afghan government needed to demonstrate its willingness to commit more troops to the fight alongside the coalition.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said Mr Brown hoped the conditions could be met "as quickly as possible", with a result possible in the Afghan elections "in the next few days".

Mr Brown said he had received assurances form both President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, about the approach they would take in government.



Mr Brown told MPs it remained essential to stabilise the region if al Qaida was to be denied a base to mount fresh attacks on the West.



"If we limit ourselves simply to targeting al Qaida - without building the capacity of Afghanistan and Pakistan to deal with terrorism and violent extremism - the security gains will not endure," he said.



The Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, said they now needed to hear from the United States, where the administration of President Barack Obama is reviewing its Afghan strategy.



General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of international forces in the country, has put forward a proposal for up to 40,000 additional troops as part of a fullscale counter-insurgency strategy to build security across Afghanistan.



However others in the administration, including Vice-President Joe Biden, are reported to favour a more limited counter-terrorism strategy using unmanned aerial drones and special forces' raids to hit al Qaida targets.



Air Chief Marshal Stirrup signalled his strong support for Gen McChrystal's approach, saying he agreed with "just about all" of his report.



"The US administration has to decide what it wants to do. Naturally, what we do depends to a very (great) extent upon the decision of the United States and their commitment to the strategy and to the mission," he said.



"Not unreasonably, we need to await the outcome of that. I wouldn't want to put words into the mouths of the Americans, but I am fairly confident of the way that it is going to come out."



In the meantime, Mr Brown said, there would be a greater concentration of British forces in central Helmand, with the redeployment of the southern regional battle group from Kandahar.



It is understood the Royal Anglian Regiment is to be deployed to Helmand fulfil the role, ahead of the return next month of the Black Watch battle group from Kandahar.



In the Commons, Tory leader David Cameron called for Whitehall to be put on a "proper war footing" to run the Afghanistan campaign.



"We need a clear sense of direction from ministers, a clear sense of who is in day to day charge, and a government machine that responds quickly and decisively," he said.



Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said there was still no overarching strategy and no coordinated international plan for Afghanistan.



"We cannot continue to fight this war on half-horsepower with half-measures and half-baked thinking," he said.



Earlier, Mr Brown began the first Prime Minister's questions of the new parliamentary term by reading out the roll-call of 37 British military personnel killed over the summer.



"This is a solemn moment for this House and our country," he said.



"It is a day on which we put on record our gratitude and our commemoration of the sacrifice made by 37 of our armed forces serving our country in Afghanistan."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicHunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original  manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... while following the referendum
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
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

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week