US asks British troops’ help in Afghanistan

July 15th, 2011 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban London, July 15 (IANS) The US commander in Afghanistan has asked Britain to take over a Taliban hotbed - dubbed the “valley of death” - in Afghanistan as American forces will soon be withdrawn, a media report said.

The Upper Gereshk Valley in Helmand province is one of the most dangerous areas in the country, The Sun reported.

The US currently has a force of about 800 marines in place in the valley.

US commander General David Petraeus made the request to British forces to take over the area.

Officials said the prime minister’s office and the ministry of defence initially opposed the request. But Defence Secretary Liam Fox has now reportedly “warmed to the idea”.

US President Barack Obama recently announced that 30,000 American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had also announced that 500 troops will be brought home from Afghanistan next year.

At least a 100-strong company of British troops are expected to be deployed in the Afghan valley.

The move would be “common sense and efficient”. “It would allow the US to concentrate elsewhere,” a defence ministry official said.

Another official said: “American troops cleared the area of Taliban and are now holding it. The Brits would be required to maintain the gains, so it would mean less troops - but it is not a nice place to be.”

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