UK Defence chiefs are planning to rush thousands of British troops to Afghanistan, according to newspaper Scotland on Sunday.
Ministers have been advised that 5,500 extra troops will be needed within months if the situation continues to deteriorate. The looming crisis in Afghanistan is a serious setback for the US-led 'War on Terror'.
Defence analysts say UK forces are already so over-stretched that any operation to restore order in Afghanistan can only succeed if substantial numbers of troops are redeployed from Iraq, itself in the grip of insurgency. The UK contribution to the Nato-led force in Afghanistan presently stands at fewer than 500, compared with their 8,000 troops in Iraq.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is due in Washington this week to discuss the deteriorating situation and widespread unrest over abuse of his countrymen by their US captors in Iraqi jails.