November 7, 2011
British forces are planning to take responsibility for a larger area of Helmand province to cover parts affected by the withdrawal of thousands of US troops from Afghanistan.
Increasing the so-called “battlespace” will not lead to more British troops being sent to the region, but it will mean the 9,000 personnel still in the province will be spread more thinly.
One area the UK is unlikely to return to is Sangin, where 99 British troops died during some of the bloodiest fighting after the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
It is thought British officials have made clear to the top brass at US Central Command (Centcom) that this would be a PR disaster in the UK, reviving memories of the initial deployment to Afghanistan, which left a small number of troops trying to secure a vast territory overrun with Taliban insurgents.