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December 16, 2008
U.S. questions British performance in Afghanistan

American military officials are reportedly questioning the role and effectiveness of British forces in Afghanistan.

Officials suggested that British troops are performing poorly, and some Americans allege that the troops lack proper equipment, frequently require rescuing by U.S. counterparts and have acted “snide.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed concern about operations in the British-controlled Helmand Province. The U.K. recently deployed 300 additional troops to the Helmand Province, though Prime Minister Gordon Brown is still considering whether or not to comply with likely requests for thousands more.

A total of 133 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan, and casualties have recently climbed. Since November, 12 British soldiers have died in the war — compared to three American soldiers. Two-thirds of people in Britain want troops to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Tom Baldwin, the Washington bureau chief of The Times of London, speaks with Martin Savidge about the role of the British in Afghanistan.

Below, bloggers discuss the accusations and the future of British involvement in Afghanistan.

The “Kotare” blog writes that Americans criticizing the British troops lack tact or forbearance.

“The Bewilderness” blog blames Gordon Brown and the Labour party for “unimpressive” British performance in Afghanistan.

British blogger “Gordon” of “Harry’s Place” argues that the fight in Afghanistan isn’t working, blaming the corruption of the Afghan government and insufficient funding.

Matthew Hickley blogs at “Afghan Diaries” for the Mail Online (U.K.), describing daily life on the ground in the Helmand Province.

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