On Tuesday much was made of high profile comments by several top British generals, including commander Gen. James Bucknall, calling for Britain to maintain troops in Afghanistan for years after the 2014 pullout. Those comments, it seems, were not made in a vacuum.
Rather they were a direct challenge to Prime Minister David Cameron, who has reportedly been pushing recently for the nation to immediately begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, saying he wants to start reducing the size of the British commitment no later than July, when the nominal US drawdown is expected to begin.
This has led to an open row between the prime minister and the military, which reportedly was “reluctant” to draw up plans involving the removal of as few as 450 troops from the nation. Even this is said to involve no combat troops, but will just reduce the number of British cooks on the ground in the nation.
With 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, Britain is the second largest of the NATO occupying forces. Cameron has vowed to ensure that all troops are out before the 2014 general election, likely a key point given how unpopular the war has been in the UK.