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Troops needed in Afghanistan, British say

Aug. 10, 2008 at 4:49 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- British commanders are warning that unless there is a rapid increase in troops sent to Afghanistan the Taliban could soon win back control countrywide.

A recommendation to reduce the current 4,000 troops in Iraq to free more troops before next year's Afghan presidential election is expected to go to British ministers, reported The Sunday Times in London.

"Unless the West commits serious numbers of extra troops soon, we are looking at a Taliban victory," said one officer, noting that Taliban forces are now operating in areas where they have not been since the 2001 allied invasion.

An Afghanistan "surge" is reportedly gaining strength among allied leaders, including the American commander, Gen. David McKiernan, and his British deputy, Lt. Gen. Jonathon Riley. They are "screaming out" for more troops, sources told The Times. The military commanders reportedly see next year's Afghan presidential election as a strategic "tipping point" requiring increased security.

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