United Kingdom to Withdraw Some British Soldiers from Afghanistan

Tuesday Gordon Brown said he was focused on cutting back on the number of the country's troops in Afghanistan, despite a report from the top U.S. commander calling for an increase in the number of soldiers.

British Prime Minister insisted he was hoping to withdraw some British soldiers as soon as Afghanistan's local forces become able to carry out their own security duties.

His comments follow the reported assessment of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the senior American commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal, who is also the NATO commander in Afghanistan, has concluded that more, not fewer, international troops were required.

"Our big challenge is to build up the Afghan army," Brown said. "It used to be very few. It is 80,000 now. It is going to go up to 135,000 in the next year, so gradually the Afghan army can take more control of their own affairs, and allow our forces to train them, and then allow our force numbers to come down as we see the Afghan army going up."

The Times of London newspaper reported Tuesday that Britain is considering the deployment of a further 1,000 troops in response to McChrystal's assessment.

McChrystal claims that without more troops, the U.S. and allies could lose the war. By the end of the year, the U.S. troops will have a record 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, working alongside 38,000 NATO-led forces, The Associated Press reports.
In the meantime, when asked about Afghanistan in five slightly different ways last week, the President answered clearly that the point of fighting there was to hurt al-Qaeda so badly that it could not threaten the US from Central Asia again. Or, as it put in on The Late Show with David Letterman last night: “My central objective is that we take those folks out.”

His man on the ground has told him how the task can be accomplished. His top uniformed adviser in Washington, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has publicly urged him to give General McChrystal everything he wants. And yet the President hesitates.

Mr Obama has taken more than a walk round the West Wing. He has postponed a decision on a new Afghan surge indefinitely – probably until November at the earliest. His staff are even reported to have told General McChrystal not to bother sending any specific troop requests until they tell him that the time is right.

Why? Because so much has changed since March. The insurgents have, by the General’s own admission, wrested the military initiative from Nato. The 21,000 US reinforcements already authorised by Mr Obama delivered reasonable security for the elections, but they could not prevent August becoming the worst month in eight years for allied casualties, Times Online reports.
It was also reported, the Pentagon has told its top commander in Afghanistan not to ask for extra troops until the Obama administration completes a strategy review, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Army General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander of U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan, warned in a confidential assessment leaked to the media on Monday that without additional troops the mission "will likely result in failure".

A senior Pentagon official said the administration had asked for the reprieve so it can complete a review of the U.S.-led war effort, the Journal reported.
"We have to make sure we have the right strategy" before looking at additional troop requests, the official told the newspaper. "Things have changed on the ground fairly considerably," Reuters reports.