In today's Scotland on Sunday and proabbly not as big a secret as made out but does not look too good for future deployments. Full article; http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=559872005 Secret UK troops plan for Afghan crisis BRIAN BRADY WESTMINSTER EDITOR DEFENCE chiefs are planning to rush thousands of British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. Ministers have been warned they face a "complete strategic failure" of the effort to rebuild Afghanistan and that 5,500 extra troops will be needed within months if the situation continues to deteriorate. An explosive cocktail of feuding tribal warlords, insurgents, the remnants of the Taliban, and under-performing Afghan institutions has left the fledgling democracy on the verge of disintegration, according to analysts and senior officers. The looming crisis in Afghanistan is a serious setback for the US-led 'War on Terror' and its bid to promote western democratic values around the world. Defence analysts say UK forces are already so over-stretched that any operation to restore order in Afghanistan can only succeed if substantial numbers of troops are redeployed from Iraq, itself in the grip of insurgency. The UK contribution to the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan presently stands at fewer than 500, compared with the contribution of 8,000 troops to the Coalition presence in Iraq. Planners at the UK military's Northolt headquarters have drawn up emergency proposals to send up to 5,500 troops to Afghanistan to help avert a descent into more widespread bloodshed. As well as increasing the British presence in Afghanistan 10-fold, it would require additional funding of almost Â£500m. MoD sources confirmed last night that the secret plans have been firmed up in response to persistent concerns that the notorious rebel commander Gulbadeen Hikmatyar has teamed up with Taliban fighters in the south. An MoD source told Scotland on Sunday: "We are going into an area where there's a civil war going on. It's dangerous and it's somewhere new. "People within the MoD are now saying we will have to deal with this and go into the south of the country. What they are saying is, don't do it piecemeal. We will have to do it properly." Senior army and navy officers, along with officials from the Treasury, were in the region last week to survey the options. But American military experts last night claimed an increase in the British presence in Afghanistan would inevitably threaten the numbers committed to Iraq.