Monday, July 13, 2009

Independent, UK - Ministers are secretly planning to cut the number of British troops in Afghanistan, at a time when defense chiefs are appealing for thousands more reinforcements to meet the deadly threat from the resurgent Taliban. Hours after the death toll of UK forces in Afghanistan rose above the number killed in Iraq, The Independent on Sunday established that Gordon Brown wants to bring up to 1,500 service personnel home from the war-torn country after its elections next month, seemingly on grounds of cost. . .

The deepening crisis in Afghanistan has dominated the political agenda in recent days, as the number of British military killed in the conflict rose to 184 – five more than the total lost by UK forces in Iraq. . . .

Senior ministers, including Mr Brown, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and the Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, have striven to justify the mission amid growing doubts over the reasons for remaining in Afghanistan and over the Government's ability to give UK forces the tools they need to do the job.