Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that 440 more British military personnel will join the Nato mission in Afghanistan. But how do the UK and US allies see their role in the country?
The additional troops will be ferrying international advisors safely around the country’s capital city, Kabul, in their Foxhound vehicles in what has been dubbed “Armoured Uber”. All part of the Nato mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.
For British soldiers and most of Nato’s forces it is no longer a combat mission. It’s now almost four years since British troops left the heat and dust of Afghanistan’s Helmand province. It’s where hundreds lost their lives. Today the Taliban still control most of Helmand.
Two years ago, the Americans returned, albeit in smaller numbers than previously served in the province. It’s a return, too, for their commander, Brig Gen Ben Watson, who was last in Helmand in 2010. He says: “I’m not surprised we’re still committed here in some fashion.”
He calls the decision in 2014 by US and British forces to leave “premature”. And if the Americans had not returned, he says: “I would imagine that Helmand would be pretty solidly under the Taliban right now.”
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