Author Topic: Britain to send 5,000 more troops to Kabul (... compared to ... Canada?)  (Read 5196 times)

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Offline bossi

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(hmmm ... in sad comparison, if push ever came to shove ... Canada's maximum contribution would be ... how many ... ?)


Britain to send 5,000 more troops to Kabul
Adam Nathan, Defence Correspondent (The Times)
September 26, 2004
 
 
THE British Army is to deploy up to 5,000 extra troops to Afghanistan to defeat a rising Taliban insurgency and to hunt for Al-Qaeda terrorists and their leader, Osama Bin Laden.
There are now only a few hundred British troops in the country, but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans for the new deployments to take place over the next 18 months.

 
 
The Afghan plan, directed by General Sir Michael Jackson, head of the army, and approved by Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, anticipates a withdrawal of many of the 8,500 British troops in Iraq.

However, military sources say they will be able to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan even if they are forced to retain a significant force in Iraq, although such overstretch could make it a shorter-term operation.

Commanders in Afghanistan have been requesting reinforcements to preserve stability in the country. It has seen a surge in violence over the past few months by militiamen loyal to the fundamentalist Taliban regime, which was overthrown in 2001.

Last week Britain made its first deployment of military aircraft to Afghanistan when six Harrier GR7 jets and 315 staff were sent to a base at Kandahar. The planes will help the security effort for next month's first presidential elections since the fall of the Taliban.

A senior army source said: â Å“The big plan over the next 18 months is to ramp up our efforts in Afghanistan and draw down our forces in Iraq.â ?

Troop numbers in Afghanistan will start to increase early next year, when hundreds of soldiers from the third battalion the Parachute regiment arrive in Kabul.

The main body of British troops to follow will come from a new â Å“shock infantryâ ? unit called 19 Light Brigade, to be based at Catterick in North Yorkshire.

â Å“We need to take Afghanistan to the next strategic stage by expanding out of Kabul and bringing security to more of the country,â ? said a senior army source.

Peacekeepers from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) are currently restricted to Kabul and nine provinces in northern Afghanistan. Army planners want British troops to venture into the violent no-go areas in the south and east of the country, where Taliban militia chiefs and local warlords have been trying to reassert control.

Both Hamed Karzai, the interim president, and one of his deputies have come close to being killed in recent weeks.

Powerful regional warlords continue to thwart Karzai's attempts to impose central rule. Western leaders are worried that, if the country slides out of control, Al-Qaeda may be able to re-establish training camps there.

Separate from Isaf, an 18,000-strong American-led force, which also includes British troops, is continuing to hunt Al-Qaeda fighters and Bin Laden along the mountainous border with Pakistan.

Several American soldiers have been killed recently in a series of rebel attacks. British troops, including the SAS, will continue to help with the hunt for Bin Laden.
 
 

The new force will be overseen by the headquarters of Nato's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, commanded by Major General David Richards. Most of the headquarter's 2,000 staff will be British.
British forces played an important peacekeeping role in Afghanistan immediately after the fall of the Taliban. In May 2002 a 1,000-strong British force led by Royal Marines swept into the Afghan mountains to hunt down regrouping Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

 
 
The marines were criticised for their lack of success, but the British are generally regarded as the most professional and effective peacekeepers by other international forces in Afghanistan.

The exact formation of 19 Light Brigade has yet to be worked out but it will almost certainly include the Queen's Royal Lancers who, as part of the overhaul announced by Hoon earlier this summer, are to be â Å“re-roledâ ? from a heavy armoured regiment into a lighter mechanised unit.

Senior defence sources say the Black Watch regiment is now â Å“highly unlikelyâ ? to be abolished. Attention has instead shifted to the Royal Scots, the oldest infantry regiment.

Either two or three English single battalion regiments are also expected to be axed. These are likely to include the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire regiment and one regiment from either Yorkshire or Lancashire.
Junior officers and NCOs who neglect to guide the thinking of their men are shirking a command responsibility.
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Those who appreciate true valour should in their daily intercourse set gentleness first and aim to win the love and esteem of others. If you affect valour and act with violence, the world will in the end detest you and look upon you as wild beasts. Of this you should take heed.
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Offline karl28

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I think its great that more troops are being sent to Afghanistan . I was worried that it would be turned into a forgotten War.      I think that the most Canada could send is about 800 to 1000 troops   like we did in the beginning of Afghanistan .              I am not a military expert but this is the info I gather from friends of mine who are in the CF .  


Cheers

Karl

Offline pbi

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bossi: I don't think you're completely being fair. Don't forget that we just finished two pretty pricey Rotos here, during which Canadians did alot of the groundwork to get ISAF operating (the   Canadian "backbone" is sadly missed by CJTF76, let me tell you...the EuroCorps boys try hard but...). The aim is NOT to get stuck in yet again, but to try to get a breather, rebuild somewhat, and get back in the game. And, as we both know, there will ALWAYS be a game, somewhere.

I would say that within a month or maybe a bit more we will all know what the next committment here will be. Cheers.
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Figure11

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This article has government "spin" written all over it. The British army, as a result of continuous cuts, is stretched to the breaking point. This article seems to pre-suppose that a large scale withdrawl of troops from Iraq in the forseeable future is not only likely, but politically feasible for Tony Blair's government.

At present the British army is something like 4 or 5 thousand below its authorised strength. Not only is the army due to shed up to four of its forty some odd battalions, but significant cuts are also planned to armoured regiments, the RAF and the navy. Exactly how this translates to creating a new "light battalion" quite frankly, escapes me, unless the plan is to take a regiment of Challengers, remove their heavy equipment and re-badge them as light infantry. Something like 40,000 additional troops make up the TA(militia) and many individuals from such units     (including my cousin who recently served a hitch in Basra) are already padding out regular army units. Many units continue to be   stationed in more familiar trouble spots such as Northern Ireland and the former Yugoslavia where there remains a need for service personnel even if the threat level there,   is not what it once was. Where would additional troops come from?

It is no secret that the Iraq war is unpopular with a significant number of British voters, and that Tony Blair's governing Labour party is holding its annual conference at the moment. It certainly cannot be good news for both that the BBC reported today that the current Iraqi insurgency is getting worse according to none other than Colin Powell himself, despite rosier predictions coming from the White house and interim president Allawi.   Right now;   Blair and friends must be cognizant that an election is looming, not only within the next year or two in Britain, but, supposedly, in Iraq as well. It seems to me that only a true optimist can expect that free and fair elections will take place in Iraq, and that a vigorous and well trained Iraqi constabulary and army, will   be able to shoulder the lions share of the security burden, and allow Washington, London, et al., to consider drastically scaling back their   presence   in that country. Whilst the opposition Conservative party has been robust in its support for the Americans in their world wide war on terror since 9/11, they have been critical of the Labour partys's conduct of the war in Iraq. I believe that their stated policy is, however, to keep the troops in Iraq, which seems to be a sentiment   increasingly, out of touch with that of the voters. The third party Liberal Democrats have been vociferous their opposition to the war and in these early days, seem poised to see real political success in the future, based partly but in no small way, to their opposition to the current war.

I'm sure we all remember the recent tragedy of the Madrid train bombing which directly led to Spanish withdrawl from Iraq. Amidst the furious rhetoric about "surrendering to terrorists" not much was mentioned of simultaneous plans to redeploy Spanish assets from Iraq to Afghanistan. This may be a signal from Tony Blair that if a terrorist strike happens in the UK, or if his party continues to   hemorrhage votes,   then the time may come when he can no longer justify a major British presence in Iraq, meanwhile   reaffirming his support for George Bush and the United States by continuing the fight in another theatre.   Exactly how such a redeployment of assets would be received in Washington is anybodies guess. I don't pretend to be   an expert; but such an action to me, would probably go over like a lead balloon.

Are they trying to fight a totally ruthless, take-no-prisoners enemy in a politally correpolitically, while trying to convince a complacent and sceptical electorate? Seems that way to me.

Figure11

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Are they trying to fight a totally ruthless, take-no-prisoners enemy in a politally correpolitically, while trying to convince a complacent and sceptical electorate? Seems that way to me.

Sorry I got screwed up with the spell check. It should ask if they are trying to fight a politically correct war against a ruthless enemy.

Offline Chris Pook

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Quote
Exactly how this translates to creating a new "light battalion" quite frankly, escapes me, unless the plan is to take a regiment of Challengers, remove their heavy equipment and re-badge them as light infantry.

figure11,

The Brits currently field 8 brigades - 3 Armd, 3 Mech, 1 Air Asslt, 1 Marine - and two operational divisions (as opposed to administrative divisions)

The plan calls for one of the Armd to be Re-Roled to Mech with one of the Challenger Regiments re-roling to Scimitars, while one of the Mech will re-role to light with its Challenger Regiment also re-roling to Scimitars.

This will result if 2 Armd, 3 Mech, 1 Light, 1 Air Asslt and 1 Marine , still with two operational divisions.

http://www.mod.uk/issues/security/cm6269/chapter2.htm

This will link you to the 2004 defence review

Most interesting is this chapter which lays out detailed force requirements for the three intended planning horizons

http://www.mod.uk/issues/security/cm6269/chapter5.htm
« Last Edit: September 27, 2004, 14:12:44 by Kirkhill »
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

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Kirkhill-thank you for that, it makes for some interesting reading. Despite, for example, Sir Mikes efforts to put events in a more positive light, I can't shake the feeling that the UK forces are getting geared by the politicos. Not only do they seem to be removing the heavier assets, but they also seem to be on the verge of busting up some very old and illustrious regiments. I can see now that my old mobs days are probably numbered. Sad.

Offline Piccillo

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General Sir Michael Jackson

whoa, no way...a singer..AND an army general, holy crap.

anyhow...a buddy of mine recently got offered to volunteer to go to afganistan, he is in the canadian reserves (ASHofC to be exact) and from what i gather, alot of reservests have signed up. i know i shure is hell would have if i was in the reserves.

Offline Chris Pook

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Glad it was useful figure11.

Which mob were you with?  From the looks of things the Royal Anglians are the likely model with their Viking and Poacher battalions (New Labour and Cool Britannia run amok). :(

One suggestion that I heard, hopefully tongue in cheek, was that they might replicate the 7 arthurian kingdoms seeing as how the already have the Anglians.  That would mean Royal Mercians, Cumbrians, Northumbrians etc.  I hope they show some consideration.... while my grandfather, who served in the 11th Bn the Devons, might tolerate them being 3rd (Devon) Bn Royal Wessex, I am not sure he would be right thrilled about being 3rd Bn The Royal Dumnonians.  Tony might find another body to haunt him.

Cheers. ;)
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Figure11

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Kirkhill- It's tough to separate fact from fiction, especially this far away but the general consensus of the rumours seem to be that the
existing ceremonial divisions such as the Kings, Queens,Guards, etc., etc, would become the new foundations for the future super-regiments. I must emphasise that I am guilty of circulating rumours I picked up from the UK, but in all fairness there does seem to be some substance to it. The ceremonial Light Division   for example, which includes the Light Infantry and Royal Green Jackets would seemingly be a strong candidate for amalgamation into a 4 or 5 battalion "Rifle/Light infantry" Regiment. Likewise, a vicious rumour has my old mob the   Coldstream guards becoming one battalion within a new "Guards" regiment, along with all of the other foot guards.

" Tony might find another body to haunt him."

I can certainly see him burned in effigy outside a few rather exclusive gentlemens clubs in Kensington and Westminster if he goes through with this one. Cheers!

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Britain to send 5,000 more troops to Kabul (... compared to ... Canada?)
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2004, 20:22:18 »
Figure11,

Sorry to say I have heard the same rumour.  One thing you might take comfort in, with Pontius's bunch out of the running your lot shouldn't have any more worries about who's senior.

As to the clubs, strangely I don't think our Tony's overly bothered.  Aren't most of your ruperts the same folks the mets were giving a beating to over the foxes?  He's already allowed those labour supporters the right to go traipsing over their land.

At this rate I think there will be a return to Normandie where a civilized Englishman can enjoy his estate and his hunting in peace.  Cheers,  :D.

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

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Re: Britain to send 5,000 more troops to Kabul (... compared to ... Canada?)
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2004, 03:00:56 »
"One thing you might take comfort in, with Pontius's bunch out of the running your lot shouldn't have any more worries about who's senior."

Very true, but if memory serves, I think that we always considered those from north of Watford as being foreigners anyway. ;D

"At this rate I think there will be a return to Normandie where a civilized Englishman can enjoy his estate and his hunting in peace.  Cheers,"
Of Course! We only gave it back to them when we didn't want it any longer!  ;)
All the best!

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Britain to send 5,000 more troops to Kabul (... compared to ... Canada?)
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2004, 12:11:10 »
Quote
Very true, but if memory serves, I think that we always considered those from north of Watford as being foreigners anyway.

Nasty blighter ;)
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Offline bossi

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bossi: I don't think you're completely being fair. Don't forget that we just finished two pretty pricey Rotos here, during which Canadians did alot of the groundwork to get ISAF operating (the   Canadian "backbone" is sadly missed by CJTF76, let me tell you...the EuroCorps boys try hard but...). The aim is NOT to get stuck in yet again, but to try to get a breather, rebuild somewhat, and get back in the game. And, as we both know, there will ALWAYS be a game, somewhere.

My mistake - lack of clarity:
I wasn't speaking specifically or solely about returning to Afghanistan or anywhere else for that matter - I was musing about a new situation or "emergency" ... (i.e. what if someobdy really needed our help).
Yes, in relative terms, we just finished two large deployments (for our abilities).
But, what if we needed to deploy a "big" expeditionary force to a "really important" invitational event?
(i.e. we've got 1, 2 and 5 bde, but ... I hazard a guess that we couldn't deploy and sustain even one bde ... a far cry from previous shindigs in days of yore ...)
Junior officers and NCOs who neglect to guide the thinking of their men are shirking a command responsibility.
-Feb 1955 Cbt Forces Journal
Those who appreciate true valour should in their daily intercourse set gentleness first and aim to win the love and esteem of others. If you affect valour and act with violence, the world will in the end detest you and look upon you as wild beasts. Of this you should take heed.
-Emperor Meiji: Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors, 4 January 1883

Offline Sheep Dog AT

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"But, what if we needed to deploy a "big" expeditionary force to a "really important" invitational event?"

Easy, we wouldn't or couldn't.
Apparently infamous for his one liners.
Oh Giggity Well...........Giggity

Offline pbi

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Barring massive political pressure or a clear and immediate threat to Canada, I think CFL is right, and so he should be. We have been living the high life on the minimum wage, and we have to give this Army a chance to adress its internal problems without moving 30% of its combat strength every six months. OK--OK: I'm exaggerating to make a point. Cheers.
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...