Taliban threat to UK troops forces McChrystal to keep them out of harm's way

Posted By: Staff
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Kabul, Nov.8 (ANI): Amid growing fears that the Taliban will target UK troops more than the others in the run-up to next May's general election, US President Barack Obama's top commander in Afghanistan,

General Stanley McChrystal, is considering a radical realignment of Britain's role in the country.

General McChrystal believes Britain's continued involvement would be politically more palatable at home if its 9,000 soldiers were moved out of "harm's way" from the frontline in Helmand.

According to The Independent, senior defence strategists fear that the death toll of British soldiers, currently 230, could be as high as 400 by the time of the election in six months, as Taliban fighters try to exploit UK public concerns about the war.

Those arguing for a phased withdrawal in the face of rising British casualties would welcome the McChrystal plan.

At the same time, however, it could be seen as a humiliating downgrading of Britain's status.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday said British troops would stay in Afghanistan, but insisted that they could not be expected to risk their lives if President Hamid Karzai did not stamp out corruption after his clouded second-term victory.

President Obama is considering General McChrystal's request for 40,000 more US troops, in addition to the 20,000 deployed earlier this year. A total of 68,000 US troops are now in Afghanistan.

Crucial to General McChrystal's thinking is that the US needs Britain to remain in Afghanistan to maintain the political alliance more than for military reasons, sources said. (ANI)

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