2,000 British troops ready for Afghanistan mission

From The Times
April 17, 2009

2,000 British troops ready for Afghanistan mission

Michael Evans, Defence Editor

Two thousand troops earmarked by army chiefs for possible deployment to Afghanistan to boost Britain’s military presence to 10,000 are on “high readiness for operations”.

The troops have just completed an intensive final training programme on Salisbury Plain and army sources warned that there were risks if the men had to wait around for a long period before being given a combat mission. “It’s a perishable set of skills,” one source said.

Defence officials said, however, that despite the operational readiness of the troops, there had been no political decision over whether the personnel from 12 Mechanised Brigade should be sent to Afghanistan.

Arguments for and against are continuing in Whitehall, with the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury said to be on opposing sides. The Treasury is worried about the costs that will have to come out of its reserves. With 21,000 extra American troops deploying to Afghanistan in the summer, however, Britain has been under pressure to boost its contribution in the expectation of a surge in Taleban attacks in the south
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