Sunday, July 1, 2007

UK to increase occupying forces 'by at least a quarter': Sunday Times

A week and a half ago, the UK's new ambassador to Afghanistan announced that those involved in the occupation "should be thinking in terms of decades." Today, the Sunday Times is reporting that military officials are planning "to increase Britain's frontline fighting units in Afghanistan by at least a quarter amid signs the war against the Taliban is intensifying." UK forces, of course, are mainly located in Helmand Province, where NATO bombing raids killed dozens over the weekend.

It is likely that UK soldiers will head to Canadian Forces Base Suffield in Alberta prior to deploying, a 21st century war zone training facility that is "considered the"gold standard" in British army training." At Suffield (which has received lots of attention recently due to the hysteria surrounding Prince Harry's presence there) they will train in counterinsurgency methods amidst mock Afghan and Iraqi villages. In an article in the Liverpool Echo last May, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Deakin Said of Suffield, ""It can only make people better when they do this for real when we deploy to Afghanistan, Iraq or the Balkans." Few Canadians probably appreciate the extent to which Canada is also helping wage the war in Iraq by providing training facilities for UK prior to deployment there.

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