UK sends more troops to Afghanistan as Taliban gain ground

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Oct. 14 that the UK is sending 500 additional troops to Afghanistan. The announcement comes as President Barack Obama weighs proposals for up to 60,000 more troops. (AP, Oct. 15) The Taliban are rapidly seizing control in large areas of Afghanistan’s countryside—most recently taking several villages in Kunduz province, riding around in pilfered police vehicles fixed with sound systems blaring Islamic songs. “We have control only over the governor’s office,” said the district governor of Chahr Dara, Abdul Wahid. “Outside those walls we have no jurisdiction at all. People do not come to the governor’s office to solve their problems—they go to the Taliban.” (IWPR, Oct. 12)

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  1. US dismisses Afghan surge report
    From the BBC News, Oct. 15:

    The White House has denied reports that US President Barack Obama may soon announce a substantial increase in US troops to Afghanistan.

    Mr Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president had not yet made a decision on troop numbers.

    The BBC’s Newsnight programme had reported that that the increase could be announced as soon as next week…

    Newsnight said the Obama administration had already told the UK government it would soon announce a substantial increase to its military forces in Afghanistan.

    The programme said it understood an announcement could come next week, in time for a meeting of Nato defence ministers in Bratislava.

    On the programme, Said Jawad, the Afghan ambassador to Washington, was asked if he could confirm that the United States would be sending more troops.

    “We should wait for the official announcement by the US government but all indications are that President Obama is honouring the request by Gen McChrystal.”

    He was asked if that meant 40,000 to 45,000 extra troops.

    “This is part of the request, yes,” he said.