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British troops confirmed for Afghanistan

July 13, 2018

Summary: Over 400 British troops to deploy to Afghanistan in “non-combat” roles

Image result for british troops in kabul 2018

The idea was being floated in April/May that the US had asked the UK to send more soldiers to Afghanistan.  This was being mulled by the British government.  Reporting now seems to confirm that 440 soldiers will now be sent, effectively doubling the UK contribution.

BBC, 10 July 2018: The UK is to send 440 more troops to serve in non-combat roles in Afghanistan, the prime minister will announce at the Brussels Nato summit.

The commitment to Nato’s mission in Afghanistan will take the total number of UK troops in the country to 1,090.

Around half of the troops will deploy from the Welsh Guards in August and the remainder will follow by February 2019.

They will help “bring the stability and security that the Afghan people deserve,” Theresa May said.

“Non combat” generally means training the Afghan security forces, providing a small UK headquarters and intelligence presence in the capital as well as all associated logistics.  I doubt they will be deployed anywhere beyond Kabul.  The only exception might be special forces.

Close training of Afghan personnel always holds out the risk of “insider attacks”, whereby a rogue, confused or pro-Taliban recruit suddenly turns his gun on international trainers.  This was a significant problem just before NATO withdrew from Afghanistan in 2014, where massive training efforts were underway in order to get the Afghan security forces ready for handover.  The issue has gone away mainly because much less hands on training is undertaken by international forces and because many safety and security features were added to protection the international troops, including having an armed guard watching their back all the time.  On the 7th July, an American soldier was killed and two injured in the first insider attack in over a year.

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