The UK will rethink how its military resources are deployed in Afghanistan but Michael Fallon is not yet mulling an , a senior defence source has said.
The UK government source said it was premature to talk about raising the level of military personnel in and no direct requests had been made by the US, despite Trump’s suggestion that Nato countries should follow his lead.
However, Trump’s decision to send more troops will inevitably put pressure on countries including Britain to bolster their military presence in the country.
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The UK is understood to be having a strategic rethink about how current resources are deployed and if more logistical help is needed, without committing any more military personnel at this stage.
Fallon, the defence secretary, said the US commitment was welcome but stopped short of announcing the UK would follow a similar path.
Britain announced a 10% increase in military advisers to help train Afghan forces earlier this year, which will lead to an extra 85 troops being sent to join a base of about 500 still in the country.
“In my call with [defence] Secretary [James] Mattis yesterday we agreed that despite the challenges, we have to stay the course in Afghanistan to help build up its fragile democracy and reduce the terrorist threat to the west,” Fallon said.
“It’s in all our interests that Afghanistan becomes more prosperous and safer: that’s why we announced our own troop increase back in June.”
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, criticised Fallon for applauding Trump’s decision to increase troops in Afghanistan.
“The war in Afghanistan has failed. After 16 years of bloodshed and destruction, the Taliban are undefeated and terrorism is no less of a threat at home. In fact it has spread,” Corbyn said.
“The British government should make clear to Donald Trump that his strategy of more bombing and a new troop surge will continue this failure, not obediently applaud his latest policy u-turn.”
In his announcement from Fort Myer, near Washington DC, Trump said the US would “ask our Nato allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own – we are confident they will”. He did not reveal how many extra forces the US planned to send.
Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, responded by saying Nato remained “fully committed to Afghanistan” and that he was “looking forward to discussing the way ahead with Secretary Mattis and our allies and international partners.”
Nato has 12,000 troops in Afghanistan and 15 countries have pledged more.