LONDON: Over the past year, the situation in Afghanistan has further destabilized, with the Taliban and other militant groups mounting attacks and gaining ground in the south Asian country.
The UK government has unveiled plans to almost double the number of British military personnel in Afghanistan, responding to an appeal for assistance by US President Donald Trump, The Independent reported on Wednesday.
The additional deployment of troops was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May, and will increase the size of Britain’s contingent of forces in Afghanistan to almost 1,100 personnel.
The British prime minister said the UK’s commitment to NATO “remains steadfast” and the bloc can “rely on the UK to lead by example.”
Close to half of the troops will be deployed from the Welsh Guards next month, while the rest will arrive in Afghanistan before next February.
Trump announced in 2017 that Washington would be sending reinforcements to the war-torn country in response to the deteriorating situation there, and called on other NATO members to follow suit.
“In committing additional troops to the Train Advise Assist operation in Afghanistan we have underlined once again that when NATO calls the UK is among the first to answer. [This deployment] bring the stability and security that the Afghan people deserve,” PM May said, responding to Trump’s request.
At the conflict’s peak, NATO had in excess of 130,000 troops in Afghanistan, and British forces operated hundreds of bases throughout the country.
This latest batch of troops will serve non-combative roles, training local security forces as part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission.
Afghanistan’s national army has struggled to fend off attacks by Taliban and Daesh* militants, highlighting the need for more foreign military assistance.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Afghanistan later this year, and the recent surge in violence has been identified as a potential threat to the security of polling stations and democracy in the country.
Despite invading Afghanistan in 2001 and continuing military operations in the country for over 16 years, the US-led coalition has failed to bring lasting peace. Sputnik