Britain is expected to send 400 more troops to Afghanistan – meaning that more than 1,000 of its soldiers will be in the country as part of a NATO training mission.
A final plan has yet to be confirmed but Whitehall sources are expecting Prime Minister Theresa May to make an announcement at a summit of Nato allies in Brussels on July 11 and 12.
There are currently 650 British troops already serving in the country. They are taking part in a Nato-led training mission called Resolute Support to help Afghan forces and help provide security.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The support the UK provides Afghanistan on security, development and governance is crucial to building a stable state and reducing the terrorist threat to the UK.
“We remain committed to NATO’s non-combat Resolute Support mission, in which we play an important role, and keep our contribution under constant review.”
Britain first deployed ground troops to Afghanistan following the 9/11 terror attack, and nearly four years after combat soldiers were withdrawn as Camp Bastion was handed over to Afghan security forces.
However, advocacy group CAGE said the decision has been taken without public consultation and in answer to a plea by the US. CAGE said it would further sour the reputation of the UK globally, damage relations between the government and Muslim communities, and more than likely lead to further violence.
Moazzam Begg, CAGE outreach director, said: “There is absolutely no evidence that attacks in the West have been coordinated by the Afghan Taliban, so selling this move to the public will be extremely difficult, especially since Cameron claimed ‘mission accomplished’ in Afghanistan before leaving office. Britain should not repeat past mistakes. Instead of joining another misadventure, the UK should advise Trump to pull out and join him in that.
“A negotiated settlement is the only way forward. This has always been possible with the Afghan Taliban, but their precondition is withdrawal of all occupation forces. Negotiations between the Afghan Taliban and the USA in 2014 led to the prisoner exchange of Private Bowe Bergdahl and the five Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo. As the Spring offensive continues, more British troops would only escalate the conflict and harden the Taliban’s resolve.”