News Article

Extra units deploying to Afghanistan named

A Defence Policy and Business news article

15 Oct 09

Following the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday of an enduring deployment of 9,000 British troops in Afghanistan, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has today announced the extra units that will be deploying with 11 Light Brigade in the coming weeks.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards during 11 Light Brigade's Mission Rehearsal Exercise on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
[Picture: Sgt Rob Knight RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

UK forces in Afghanistan currently stand at around 9,000, which includes 700 troops deployed until the end of 2009 to cover the period of the Afghan presidential election.

The enduring deployment of 9,000 troops announced by Mr Brown means that extra units need to be deployed with 11 Light Brigade who took over command of Task Force Helmand from 19 Light Brigade on Saturday 10 October 2009. See Related News >>>

Naming the extra units, Mr Ainsworth said in a Written Ministerial Statement today:

"Further to my Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister's Statement on Afghanistan on 14 October 2009, I can announce that, in addition to those units named in my Written Ministerial Statement of 15 July 2009 on the roulement of 19 Light Brigade by 11 Light Brigade, the following units will deploy to Afghanistan:

"1st BattalionĀ Coldstream Guards, which will now deploy as a complete unit;
Elements of 30th Signal Regiment;
Elements of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment;
Elements of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

"The deployment of these units will allow us to uplift our force levels to 9,000 troops.

"As the Prime Minister explained in his statement, UK force levels will be further increased to 9,500 troops if certain conditions are met. This uplift would be provided by the deployment of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh."

To see the full list of units who are deploying with 11 Light Brigade click here.

The Prime Minister also announced yesterday that with immediate effect the regional battle group for southern Afghanistan, which numbers around 500 British troops and has been conducting operations from Kandahar, will be redeployed to Helmand.

The number of British troops in Helmand rose from around 4,000, when in 2006 they took the lead in Helmand as part of the ISAF expansion into the south, to 7,800 in summer 2007, and to just over 8,000 in summer 2008.

In December 2008 the Prime Minister approved a request from commanders for an increase in troop levels, to reinforce security in central Helmand, from just over 8,000 to around 8,300.

It is from this baseline that force level changes in the summer of 2009 have been made.

At the NATO summit in April 2009, as part of a wider NATO commitment to strengthen security through the crucial election period, a decision was taken that a further 700 troops would be deployed as part of a surge force.

This included specialist units to protect our forces against the growing threat of roadside bombs. As a result of these changes, our total troop numbers reached 9,000. They have remained at around 9,000 over the summer, with some flexibility.

Yesterday's statement by the Prime Minister confirms that 9,000 will now become the permanent baseline for the force in Afghanistan and that there is a decision in principle to see British force levels increase to 9,500, in line with clear military advice and subject to a number of conditions being met.

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