5000 UK troops for Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by claymore, Sep 26, 2004.

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  1. From the Sunday Times. A brigade for Afghanistan? What price deployment gaps now?

    Britain to send 5,000 more troops to Kabul
    Adam Nathan, Defence Correspondent

    THE British Army is to deploy up to 5,000 extra troops to Afghanistan to defeat a rising Taliban insurgency and to hunt for Al-Qaeda terrorists and their leader, Osama Bin Laden.

    There are now only a few hundred British troops in the country, but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans for the new deployments to take place over the next 18 months.

    The Afghan plan, directed by General Sir Michael Jackson, head of the army, and approved by Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, anticipates a withdrawal of many of the 8,500 British troops in Iraq.

    However, military sources say they will be able to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan even if they are forced to retain a significant force in Iraq, although such overstretch could make it a shorter-term operation.

    Commanders in Afghanistan have been requesting reinforcements to preserve stability in the country. It has seen a surge in violence over the past few months by militiamen loyal to the fundamentalist Taliban regime, which was overthrown in 2001.

    Last week Britain made its first deployment of military aircraft to Afghanistan when six Harrier GR7 jets and 315 staff were sent to a base at Kandahar. The planes will help the security effort for next month’s first presidential elections since the fall of the Taliban.

    A senior army source said: “The big plan over the next 18 months is to ramp up our efforts in Afghanistan and draw down our forces in Iraq.”

    Troop numbers in Afghanistan will start to increase early next year, when hundreds of soldiers from the third battalion the Parachute regiment arrive in Kabul.

    The main body of British troops to follow will come from a new “shock infantry” unit called 19 Light Brigade, to be based at Catterick in North Yorkshire.

    “We need to take Afghanistan to the next strategic stage by expanding out of Kabul and bringing security to more of the country,” said a senior army source.

    Peacekeepers from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) are currently restricted to Kabul and nine provinces in northern Afghanistan. Army planners want British troops to venture into the violent no-go areas in the south and east of the country, where Taliban militia chiefs and local warlords have been trying to reassert control.

    Both Hamed Karzai, the interim president, and one of his deputies have come close to being killed in recent weeks.

    Powerful regional warlords continue to thwart Karzai’s attempts to impose central rule. Western leaders are worried that, if the country slides out of control, Al-Qaeda may be able to re-establish training camps there.

    Separate from Isaf, an 18,000-strong American-led force, which also includes British troops, is continuing to hunt Al-Qaeda fighters and Bin Laden along the mountainous border with Pakistan.

    Several American soldiers have been killed recently in a series of rebel attacks. British troops, including the SAS, will continue to help with the hunt for Bin Laden.

    The new force will be overseen by the headquarters of Nato’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, commanded by Major General David Richards. Most of the headquarter’s 2,000 staff will be British.

    British forces played an important peacekeeping role in Afghanistan immediately after the fall of the Taliban. In May 2002 a 1,000-strong British force led by Royal Marines swept into the Afghan mountains to hunt down regrouping Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

    The marines were criticised for their lack of success, but the British are generally regarded as the most professional and effective peacekeepers by other international forces in Afghanistan.

    The exact formation of 19 Light Brigade has yet to be worked out but it will almost certainly include the Queen’s Royal Lancers who, as part of the overhaul announced by Hoon earlier this summer, are to be “re-roled” from a heavy armoured regiment into a lighter mechanised unit.

    Senior defence sources say the Black Watch regiment is now “highly unlikely” to be abolished. Attention has instead shifted to the Royal Scots, the oldest infantry regiment.

    Either two or three English single battalion regiments are also expected to be axed. These are likely to include the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire regiment and one regiment from either Yorkshire or Lancashire.
  2. 19 Bde? I'd heard a rumour that they might provide a good chunk of the forces for NATO's NRF (rotation 6).
  3. I can hear the elastic band close to snapping :wink:
  4. So is that going to leave UOTC's and Cadet Forces to do fire duties, CCRF and Northern Ireland, foot and mouth then????
  5. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    OMG, didn't Hitler used to make up army groups when he ran out of reinforcements in 1945?

    The solution of course is to have it as a 'book value' of 5,000 steely eyed dealers of death but actually only have 30 blanket stackers spend two years building a camp as the advance element.
  6. :cry:
  7. My thoughts entirely, they'll be calling up the Cub Scouts after that. Or putting Chelsea Pensioners in the Support Regiments.

  8. The OP TAG package could be interesting
  9. Hmm, counter-terrorist training via use of walking sticks and sten guns for the olds and possibly home-made bows and arrows for the little 'uns.

    Devastating force, I'm sure.

    Nothing but praise for those we have now but damn, we need more soldiers.

  10. don't panic lads , at the third time of asking , i've recieved an explanation of all this from Adam Ingram , via my MP , and he says it's going to be ok , in fact in "real terms" (i'm not sure who's idea of real he's using) the army will actually be BETTER OFF you see now we've given all the nice terrorists jobs in government in northern ireland , they're suddenly going to give up 800 years of hatred and bigotry and the organised criminals (oops sorry "freedom fighters") are going to give up their respective arsenals and cuddle , thus freeing up loads of troops...... see ,easy peasy.
  11. Adam "Orange Flute Band" Ingram would know. About one side of the "freedom fighter" divide anyway. Knows fcuk all about defence, though. Or integrity or truth, come to think of it. Or much of anything else. Tw*t. Fat, flute-playing tw*t-faced, New Labour, arres-licking, snot-gobblin' oxygen thief. :twisted:
  12. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    I look back wistfully to the very late 80's when I decided the barrack life of the regular army was not for me....
  13. cheers claymore , i was stuck for what to put in my reply!!! :)
  14. [quote="shortfuse"

    cheers claymore , i was stuck for what to put in my reply!!! :)[/quote]

    Glad to be of service. :lol: A tip. You can always tell when Ingram's lying. His lips are moving, although apparently that also happens when he's reading.
  15. ok i'm confused (which i admit is not exactly a rarity), but when i left, 19 was a Mech Brigade, at least that what my shoulder flash said????????

    when did it magically become a "light" brigade, and exactly what the f*ck is a light brigade now anyway???????????????