UK troops ‘to spend 10 years’ in Afghanistan

Michael Smith

THE commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan said last week that UK troops could be in the country for as long as 10 years.

In his first interview since arriving in Afghanistan, Brigadier Ed Butler said: “I don’t think there’s any doubt we will be here for a considerable time. There will need to be training teams and embedded officers for 10 years or so.”

Butler, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, took full responsibility for setting up the “platoon houses” at Sangin and Musa Qala, where 15 British soldiers have died. But he said the decision to send troops into the frontline bases, described by many of his men as “hellholes”, was made “under not inconsiderable pressure” from Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president.

When British troops began arriving in April to take charge of Helmand province, they met immediate Taliban resistance, Butler said. Baghran district centre had been overrun by the Taliban.

“The governor [of Helmand] was concerned, and the Afghan government was concerned, that northern Helmand was about to fall to the Taliban,” said Butler.

British troops had shown immense bravery in intense combat. “They have been in almost constant engagement with the enemy. Some of these guys are barely out of school. Killing someone is a very difficult thing to do,” Butler said. “People think: ‘Well, that’s what soldiers are paid to do’, but it still takes raw courage to go out and do it.”

1 comment:

James Barr said...

I think the British will not be there that long unless proper resources are found to support the mission they find themselves undertaking (which is not the one the British government anticipated at all).


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