UK to likely follow US in reducing troops in Afghanistan: Defense minister

British soldiers arrive at Kandahar air base. (File photo: Reuters)

Britain will likely follow the United States in reducing troop levels in Afghanistan but it will continue to work with its government and the US to protect the country’s security, Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump will sharply reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Wallace said the Americans were not totally pulling out at this stage, and neither was Britain.

But he said: “I expect if they (the US) are reducing at some stage, we will come down.”

Wallace said Britain had limited scope to act independently of its largest ally, but an increased funding settlement he had agreed with the finance ministry would in the future give the country greater options.

“Part of this defence review is how can Britain be more independent,” he told Sky News. “How can we complement each other around the world. If one power or another pulls out and we ... decide we want to stay longer, we could do so.”

“At the moment if the United States unilaterally pulls out of some of these countries we have a challenge.”

Read more:

‘Good step’: Taliban welcome US troop drawdown from Afghanistan

Germany ‘concerned’ about US withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan: Minister

US to reduce troop numbers in Iraq, Afghanistan: Acting defense secretary

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Thursday, 19 November 2020 KSA 11:51 - GMT 08:51
Top