London, Aug.11 : Senior British commanders have placed a demand for thousands of more troops in Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from winning back control of the country.
They are recommending a rapid reduction in the 4,000 troops in Iraq so that more can go to Afghanistan.
American and British commanders in Afghanistan want an Iraq-style surge "within months" to fend off a Taliban victory before next year's presidential election there.
One senior officer said the Taliban were now operating in areas where they had not been since the allied invasion in 2001.
Commanders in Helmand need at least one more infantry brigade that would increase British numbers from 8,000 to about 12,000, he added.
British officers fear that having been accused of failing in Iraq, they will face a second defeat caused solely by the failure to provide sufficient troops.
They have already begun lobbying to persuade Gordon Brown to back the idea of a surge. The prime minister, however, is looking for a "peace dividend" from the Iraq withdrawal that would cut the 1.7 billion pound annual cost of the two operations.
Des Browne, the defence secretary, ordered his officials last week to deny that there were any plans to send more troops.
NATO chiefs in Afghanistan, however, including General David McKiernan, the American commander, and his British deputy, Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley, are "screaming out" for more troops, sources said.