Britain Sending Mixed Signals on Afghan Escalation

Brown Insists He's Hoping to Remove Some Troops

One day after it became public that the British military was drawing up plans to add another 1,000 troops to its combat force in Afghanistan to support Gen. McChrystal’s call for escalation, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was sending very different signals.

Brown insists that the effort training Afghan forces is going so well that he is hoping that he will actual be able to withdraw some of the 9,000 troops in Helmand Province, the first time he or any other world leader has suggested that the training of the Afghan forces has been anything but a disaster.

Brown, who is seen as one of the least popular prime ministers in British history, is likely attempting to differentiate himself from the David Cameron led opposition, which has been trumpeting a plan to dramatically escalate the war.

Cameron is widely expected to take the prime ministership during the next elections, despite polls showing the Afghan War as extremely unpopular in Britain. Though Brown’s talk of troop cuts might seem appealing, it will unlikely be well-received under the pretense of progress in the ever-worsening war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.