US asks for more British troops in AFG

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Ord_Sgt, Jan 16, 2007.

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  1. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    The Herald: US asks for more British troops in AFG

    The US has asked Britain to send more troops to Afghanistan in a move which military sources say could mean the deployment of an extra 1000-man battlegroup this year. The request came during talks between Robert Gates, the newly-appointed US defence secretary, and Tony Blair at Downing Street on Sunday..........

    Any new commitment of combat troops would further strain the already overstretched British Army, which is struggling to maintain rolling deployments of 5800 soldiers to Afghanistan and 7100 to Iraq every six months. It is also stretching the RAF's ability to maintain two simultaneous "airbridges" to keep garrisons thousands of miles from the UK supplied. Sources say enough troops could be "scraped together" to provide the additional battlegroup requested by UK commanders in Helmand province last summer. But maintaining the commitment for anything beyond a few months would hinge on a "substantial" reduction of British force-levels in Iraq.

    There are contingency plans to cut the Basra garrison by about 3000 men this summer, but these are dependent on improved security conditions in southern Iraq.Senior officers also fear that a cutback will be impossible and that there might even be a need to reinforce the garrison if current US "surge" plans to pacify Baghdad trigger a countrywide Shi'ia militia uprising.

    The Americans have 20,000 troops in Afghanistan and are about to take command of all Nato forces - including the British - next month. The Pentagon is desperate to reduce its commitment there to create reserves for Iraq and a possible confrontation with Iran.

    UK commanders expect a renewed Taliban spring offensive in Helmand and neighbouring Kandahar from the end of February and would welcome more fighting troops and helicopters. Fewer than 1000 of the existing force in Helmand are frontline soldiers, supported by just eight transport helicopters, to cover a volatile area four times the size of Wales. A senior military source told The Herald: "We can just about cope as things stand, but the toybox is almost empty as far as additional soldiers are concerned. While an extra battlegroup of 1000 to 1200 fighting troops would provide welcome tactical flexibility in Helmand this year, it could only be a stopgap measure unless we reduce the numbers in Iraq. Something has to give somewhere."

    Those views are shared by experts in Helmand, where the Royal Marines have been leading a successful New Year offensive against the Taliban. One source, who cannot be named for security reasons, told The Herald last week in Lashkar Gah, the Helmand capital, that the British need to beef up its presence in the lawless province. "We need to bring in three more battalions and double the number of helicopters," the source said. "It's no secret that we have just eight Apaches, eight Chinooks and four or five Lynxs. On any given day, half of them will be out of action for servicing."

    Britain faces the danger of a long stay in Helmand, with the mountainous north and desert south effectively in the hands of the Taliban, the source warned. Only extra troops, the source said, would enable the British to prise frontline villages from the hands of the extremists. British troops were initially only scheduled to stay in Helmand until 2009. Local troops, however, are not expected to be ready to replace Nato forces by then.......

    Erm where are these extra troops going to come from exactly?
  2. Ord_Sgt wrote:
  3. and the rest of NATO is doing what precisely? I'm sure it was more than a 2 nation club.
  4. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    OK but that assumes of course that we actually do reduce force numbers in Iraq as planned.
  5. Hej. That's a good ruse...

    Generals know that any requests for further resources will fall upon deaf ears, but requests from Washington always seem to pay dividends. Maybe CDS has had a quiet word with his opposite number in the Pentagon and got somebody else to submit his request.
  6. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Well lets be honest it's politicians from the other nations who won't let their troops get involved. I reckon a few Battalions of boxhead Inf would be welcome. :thumright:

    And of course the cannucks are more than holding their own :threaten: :thumleft:
  7. NATO is a political debating society not a military force.

    Occasionally, members of the society retire from their oral exersions and order out their minions onto the field for a bit of light relief. It is not compulsory for all members to participate in these events.
  8. mmmmm, hadn't thought of that angle. Good point.

    A request from the US for extra troops and kit is much more likely to be heard from the US than UK forces as Bliar is right next to Bush's colon. Sound travels better through fluids.

    It may be a good excuse to get our bods out of the quagmire in Iraq into something much more . . . er . . . quagmiry (is that a word?). Seeing as how there is going to be next-to-no payback for our losses and expenditure in Iraq, maybe we'll get something out of Afghan . . .

    I'll get my coat.
  9. To be honest, I'm against giving them any practise!!!! ;-)
  10. though boxheads on the rampage would stop all the whineing about polish types coming over here
    gets coat :headbang:
  11. i beleive the afgan war is right. the troops should get all the support they need.

    on the other hand we should be in iraq. what we should have done was send an SAS troop in to baghdad to take out saddam and his bum buddies. that way we would have to **** about like we are now..

  12. Twice now I have read in the media that there are less than a thousand bayonets in Helmand province at the mo.

    Now I undertand that 3 Cdo Brigade is still made up of 42, 43 and 45 Commando. Are they not of army battalion size or are they not all deployed in Helmand - 330 blokes in a Commando just doesn't seem right.

    Can someone give me the gen on this
  13. 3 Cdo Bde primary Cdo are 40, 42 & 45 (Approx 700 each)
    43 Commando disbanded in 1968.

  14. Depends whether you count cooks and bottlewashers stagging on as 'bayonets'. Only joking.

    16 AA Bde deployed with only 3 PARA BG under command (not incl. aviation assets). It left 2 PARA and 1 IRISH at home and sent 5 SCOTS to BLMF. 3 PARA BG on Herrick was 3 PARA btn + normal 16 AA CS/CSS assets + reinforcement with 3 inf coys (RRF, IRISH, GURKHA). In effect, it had almost 2 btns worth of "bayonets" - about 1,000.

    3 Cdo Bde is similarly configured. Only 42 Cdo BG is deployed but has 3/4 of 45 Cdo under command. Hence the 1,000 "bayonets" quote.

    I hope you understand the fundamental difference between a (barracks) battalion and a (deployed) battle group. If not, PM me.
  15. More British troops will be sent in response to the US request. This will be spun as a request from "commanders on the ground". The spin may come unstuck if the Yanks decide to play up the "shoulder to shoulder" rubbish to keep Dubya's head above water.,,1991522,00.html

    Remember the US "surge" is not the only "surge" likely to happen. I predict a "legacy surge" particularly as the Great Helmsman will remain at the tiller of the sinking ship until the last possible moment.