5,000 British troops bound for Afghanistan
London Evening Standard | June 14, 2005
By Joe Murphy
More British troops are to be deployed in Afghanistan, military chiefs confirmed today.
Up to 5,000 troops may help a planned US bid to re-establish order in the country, with the first wave arriving in October.
The offer of extra British manpower was reportedly made at a Nato meeting in Brussels last week.
However, the Ministry of Defence said that the exact
size and date of the deploymenthad not yet been decided, and said any estimates of the numbers of troops to be sent were "speculative".
Tony Blair agreed at a Nato summit in Istanbul last year that a headquarters group of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) would be sent to Afghanistan during 2006.
Despite the Allied victory in the war against the Taliban in 2001, according to the report in the Daily Mirror there is concern about continuing resistance by groups linked to the former fundamentalist regime.
There is also alarm at the increase in opium production and the failure of President Hamid Karzai to establish control over the country's warlords.
In addition, Osama bin Laden is yet to be apprehended despite the ongoing attempt by US and British special forces to find the al Qaeda leader.
A MoD spokesman said: "The Prime Minister announced at the Nato summit in Istanbul that we had agreed to send an HQ group of the ARRC in 2006. We haven't taken any decisions yet about numbers. It is the HQ only, not the entire corps."
Britain currently has 900 troops in Afghanistan as part of a Nato-led force.