Britain’s military is reportedly considering to substantially increase the number of its troops in Afghanistan following demands by US President Donald Trump for NATO members to “pay their fair share” for the US-led military alliance.
British daily The Times reported Friday that UK’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson is believed to have asked Prime Minister Theresa May for deployment of 400 additional military forces to purportedly assist in the battle against the Taliban insurgents, on top of the 600 British soldiers already in the war-torn Afghanistan.
Trump declared last August that the US will deploy 3,500 more troops to the Asian nation in efforts to secure areas that had fallen into Taliban control, after repeatedly warning that NATO members need to fulfill their commitments for funding the Western military alliance.
“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” Trump said during leaders summit of NATO member countries last year at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
According to the report, May is scheduled to make an announcement about the additional troop deployment at a NATO summit next July, where it is expected Trump will press members even further for more contributions.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MoD), meanwhile, declared that it remained “committed to NATO’s …mission, in which we play an important role, and keep our contribution under constant review.”
Former commander of Britain’s Joint Forces Command Richard Barrons has also stated in an interview with BBC Radio 4 Today program that the UK needed to acknowledge that challenges still remained in Afghanistan.
“When we left, it was not the case that the Afghan national army and the air force were strong enough to tip the balance against the Taliban — and that now has to be reset,” he said.
The development came less than a week after Taliban militants attacked the capital city of western Farah Province in an attempt to capture the city, killing over 30 police and military officers, but failed advance in face of fierce resistance by Afghan forces.
Local provincial council member Jamila Amini declared on Tuesday that the insurgents had attacked the city around midnight, capturing one district and parts of another.
Amini further stated that government airstrikes had been called to assist ground forces.
“Heavy fighting continues inside the city, and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions,” she said. Reinforcements, including commando units, have also been deployed to the region, she added.
US-led military forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and toppled a ruling Taliban regime as part of its purported “war on terror” campaign. The war effort, however, has failed to bring any stability to the terror-ravaged country despite the persisting presence of thousands of foreign forces.
A recent survey found that Taliban were active in two-thirds of the country and remained in control of at least four percent of it.