This week, British forces withdrew from the Sangin District in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. American troops will again control the deadly province after more than four years of British control, according to The New York Times. Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan defense minister, expressed criticism toward the British troops, saying that they were not well enough prepared. He said that American troops were better equipped and were better trained then their British counterparts. Over 100 British troops have died in the Sangin province, and the public in Britain was happy to know about the withdrawal, according to VOA News. Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that he wants his troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2015.
This news comes after this summer proved to be one of the most deadly times in the war in Afghanistan so far. The Christian Science Monitor reports that June 2010 was the most deadly month of the war, with 103 troops killed. Toward the end of August, 20 coalition service members were killed in one week. All of these troops were killed by roadside bomb attacks, according to The New York Times. On top of the news of that, a helicopter crash on Sept. 21, 2010, in Zabul Province, which is in southern Afghanistan, reported the deaths of nine NATO Forces. This has now made 2010 officially the deadliest year in the Afghan war. All of these grim milestones are not a good sign for the remaining troops in Afghanistan.
In December of 2009, President Obama decided that he was going to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, but this would be counterproductive if other countries such as Britain are planning on pulling their troops out. The recent increase in attacks by the Taliban is only worsening the outlook for the Afghanistan war.
If what Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister, says is true, that American troops are better prepared for the battle against the Taliban, then the rotation of control from British troops to the Americans can only be something positive. However, since the year has wound up being the deadliest, having troops leave the country can only be a bad thing. The increase in American troops will surely have a positive effect on a war that seems to be never ending.
Rod Nordland, “British Forces Leave Deadly Afghan District” The New York Times
Selah Hennessy, “British Forces Leave Afghanistan’s Deadly Sangin District” VOA News
Jonathan Adams, “Afghanistan helicopter crash makes 2010 deadliest year in Afghanistan war” The Christian
Rod Nordland, Attacks on U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Intensify” The New York Times.