UK increases training of Afghan security forces


London : The UK is to increase the training of local security forces in Afghanistan following the redeployment of UK troops in Helmand province, Defence Secretary Liam Fox has announced.

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“As a result of this rebalancing of our forces, we plan to increase by a total of over 320 the number of troops directly involved in the institutional training and development of the Afghan national security forces,” Fox said,

This, he said, is “in line with the coalition’s intent to increase the number of troops directly involved in enhancing the capability of Afghan forces so that the Afghans, in time, can take the lead for security in their country.”

British troops have been redeployed over the past few months within the area of operations covered by Regional Command (South West), which has been placed under the US command.

Over the summer, the UK has transferred security responsibility for such outposts as Kajaki, Musa Qala and Sangin to the US allies allow the concentration of British forces in central Helmand.

In a written parliamentary statement published on Friday, Fox said it was “hugely important that we strike the right balance between the numbers of the civilian population and the size of the security forces available to protect them.”

Of the additional UK troops allocated to training, he said that around 170 will be formally accredited on the NATO combined joint statement of requirement, while some 150 will take on additional roles, including training of Afghan national police.

“Uplift in the number of those involved in institutional training and development will not result in a change to the UK’s established and enduring conventional force level of 9,500 personnel,” the defence secretary told MPs.