Commanders warn Afghan troop increase is not enough

Commanders warn Afghan troop increase is not enough
Government plans to send an extra 500 troops to Afghanistan have been dismissed by senior commanders who claim that thousands more soldiers are needed in the war zone if the Taliban are to be defeated.

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
Published: 9:50PM BST 10 Oct 2009

Dozens of soldiers were killed and injured in Helmand over the summer Photo: GEOFF PUGH
Senior defence sources said that the Government now risks repeating the same mistakes as those made in Iraq, where a lack of troops meant that Britain faced the "humiliation" of being "bailed out by US troops" after Basra fell into the hands of insurgents.
The Prime Minister will announce on Wednesday that the size of the British force will increase from 9,000 to 9,500. The additional troops will come from the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Coldstream Guards, who are expected to leave for Helmand province in the next few weeks.

Despite the increase, commanders have admitted that a shortage of British soldiers based in the two key towns of Sangin and Musa Qala will mean that UK forces will only be able to contain, not defeat, the Taliban in this part of Helmand.

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