Britain Will Resist US Calls for Afghan Buildup

Army stretched too thin, top commander says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2008 12:31 PM CST
David Petraeus leaves 10 Downing Street in London with British Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, left, after a meeting with Gordon Brown, Monday, Sept. 29, 2008.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
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(Newser) – Britain should oppose any calls from President Obama to shift troops to Afghanistan as they are pulled out of Iraq, the country's defense chief says, arguing that UK troops need a breather. “I have said for a very long time that the British armed forces are stretched,” Sir Jock Stirrup told the Guardian. “We have to put ourselves back into balance.” And the foreign secretary, David Miliband, says Britain is already doing its fair share in Afghanistan.

“As the second-largest contributor of troops in Afghanistan, the first thing we say is that we don't want to bear an unfair share of the burden,” Miliband said, adding that "more foreign troops on their own are not going to provide the answer in Afghanistan. It needs to be an approach that combines a serious security presence with the development of the country.”