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.
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.
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