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'British Military Presence In Afghanistan Could Increase'

Britain may increase its military presence in Afghanistan, Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning has told MPs.Giving evidence to the Commons...

Britain may increase its military presence in Afghanistan, Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning has told MPs.

Giving evidence to the Commons Defence Committee, Mr Penning described the security situation in the war-torn country as "difficult", and joked he was "probably going to get shot" for revealing more personnel may be sent there.

"We have no plans to draw-down, actually there is a possibility that we might uplift because of what we are being asked to do. I have not been formally asked, but I might as well be honest with the committee. That's a possibility."

Pressed on the matter, Mr Penning, who has recently returned from visiting coalition forces in Afghanistan, said: "It was an assumption I made on the conversations with the coalition."

The minister then quipped he could get "shot" because of what he had said.

"One of the things I have always wanted to do is be as open as possible.

"So, if I'm sitting here thinking I may have to do an uplift, there may be a possibility - I'm probably going to get shot when I get back."

An MOD spokesperson said, however:

"There has been no request for an increase of NATO personnel in Afghanistan. Any request for extra resources and personnel would of course be considered."

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