Vincent Wood — Express.co.uk Aug 27, 2017
LARGE numbers of SAS troops are expected to be stationed in Afghanistan to support US President Donald Trump’s military surge in the region, it has been revealed.
The US firebrand pledged to commit more troops to the country in a bid to stem the growing tide of the Taliban, who have claimed swathes of the nation as their own.
Now UK sources have revealed the Prime Minister is preparing to station troops in the region, with SAS and Special Boat Service operatives currently performing integral roles in a “scoping exercise” that will decide which military assets can be deployed on the battlefield.
A senior Whitehall official told the Sunday Times: “The special forces are clearly a key element of our military capability in this kind of operation.”
Britain may also bolster President Trump’s military push in the country with military drones and other aircraft.
While the US is yet to call on Britain to commit to the fray, ministers are prepared for the request amid the US commitment to the conflict.
Defence Minister Sir Michael Fallon, who praised Trump’s decision to commit more troops to the country, is believed to have discussed the UK’s military capabilities with his US equivalent James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis.
And UK officials are reportedly prepared to commit to a “significant uptick” in SAS troops serving in Afghanistan following intelligence reports which claim the Taliban has developed a presence in every province and major town in the country.
The Taliban, a militant Islamic group condemned by then-President George W. Bush during the start of the current assault on the country, is believed to be harbouring al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in the country.
The MoD said they could not confirm or deny special forces involvement in Afghanistan.
It comes as Trump vows he is “not nation building” by committing more troops to Afghanistan, but “killing terrorists”.
The US President has previously been sceptical about the war in Afghanistan, which is in its 16th year.
Before the election, Trump made repeated calls for the US to withdraw, but in a speech last week he announced he will commit 4,000 more troops to the region to combat terrorism.
He said: “We need look no further than last week’s vile, vicious attack in Barcelona to understand that terror groups will stop at nothing to commit the mass murder of innocent men, women and children. You saw it for yourself. Horrible.
“As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding, and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology.”
President Trump added: “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear: We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter.”