More British troops needed in Afghanistan 'to safeguard reputation with US'

Other News Materials 1 June 2009 13:15 (UTC +04:00)

Senior generals have told Number 10 the armed forces will lose credibility in the eyes of American commanders unless troop numbers surge, according to The Independent.

The newspaper said defence chiefs have persuaded the Government to review the situation in the autumn, "Telegraph" reported.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army, recently warned that Britain's strategic alliance with the US was at risk unless troops were seen to be performing well in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the think-tank Chatham House, he reportedly said: "Credibility with the US is earned by being an ally that can be relied on to state clearly what it will do and then does it effectively. And credibility is also linked to the vital currency of reputation."

He said Afghanistan offered an opportunity to restore credibility called into question "at several levels" in the eyes of the US as a result of some aspects of the Iraq campaign.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "Afghanistan is vital to UK national security and we will continue to work with our allies to ensure commanders have the resources necessary to carry out our mission.

"We are making a significant contribution to the coalition's military effort, including increasing our force levels to 9,000 over the course of the Afghan election period."