The top US commander, General Stanley McChrystal, has yet to indicate whether he will ask for more troops this autumn to augment the existing force of just over 100,000.
But if he does, the US will argue that it is the European states – Britain, Germany, France and Italy – that have the capacity to send in reinforcements, not the Americans, who are heavily committed in both Afghanistan and Iraq . . .
The Americans, a senior Nato official argued, will not be able to send in many more unless they “draw down the numbers in Iraq”.
But France, Italy and Germany would be left with thousands of troops available to deploy once peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and Kosovo are wound down, the source added. He estimated Britain’s spare capacity at 2,000. He argued British public support was surprisingly high in view of the recent death toll in British army ranks. (photo: Spiegel)