London, August 28 (RHC)-- UK troops from the Special Air Service (SAS), a special forces unit of the British Army, are gearing up to return to Afghanistan as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s new strategy to boost troop levels in the war-torn country, according to a new report.
Senior sources within the British military say Prime Minister Theresa May is ready to authorize a “significant uptick” in SAS activities in Afghanistan in order to step up the fight against Taliban and other extremist groups wreaking havoc in the country, The Sunday Times reported.
Aside from SAS, operatives from the Special Boat Service have been playing a key role in a “scoping exercise” to determine the type of equipment that could be sent to Afghanistan.
Although the White House has yet to make an official request, the British government expects to hear from the Pentagon about the Trump administration’s plans to increase troop levels soon.
“The special forces are clearly a key element of our military capability in this kind of operation,” said a senior Whitehall official. British drones and aircraft might also be deployed to Afghanistan, the report added.
British military chiefs have obtained “compelling information from credible human intelligence sources” that show Afghanistan might quickly succumb to the Taliban if U.S. troops leave the country.
The intelligence have been reportedly produced by members of the UK Defense Human Intelligence Unit -- a secret army unit that runs agents in war zones.
Trump said earlier this week that he would prolong the U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan, which he once described as a “complete waste” of time and resources. The U.S. president, who had previously called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, argued that his "original instinct was to pull out," but that he was convinced by his national security team to take on the Taliban militants.
The new policy reflects a significant shift in his approach to Afghanistan since taking office.
UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon hailed Trump’s announcement. He has already discussed Britain’s capabilities with his American counterpart, James Mattis.
The United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
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