LondonNet News Headlines
15/11/01
British Troops Not Wanted
- - Northern Alliance and US government balk at big deployment

TONY BLAIR and George Bush appear to have fallen out over the use of ground troops in Afghanistan.

In an embarrassing drama that mirrors a similar split during the Kosovo war three years ago, the Prime Minister is cast as the more militaristic party, arguing for the quick deployment of thousands of soldiers, while his American counterpart balks at such a commitment.

2,000 British troops were due to fly out to Afghanistan to 'stabilise' the country but, as LondonNet made clear last week, the real mission was always likely to be to stop the Northern Alliance from taking complete control. Not surprisingly, Northern Alliance commanders have vetoed the deployment, and have even said that they would prefer only 15 of the 100 UK special forces troops to stay.

One top British officer said: "We are undergoing an operational pause - while politics catches up."

Now it seems that it is not only the Northern Alliance that has its doubts. President Bush and some of his key advisers are said to be reluctant to throw big numbers of US forces at the situation, preferring to concentrate their efforts on wiping out the Al Q'aeda terrorist organisation and the retreating forces of the former Taliban government.

But there are also splits emerging within the US government, with some arguing in favour the Blair line and still others urging Bush to extend the military campaign to other countries such as Iraq and Somalia.



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