LONDON: United States forces are to take over the main role in southern Afghanistan from the British in a shake-up of the region’s command structure, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The arrangement for the vast area known as Regional Command South is to change following the arrival of some 21,000 US troops in the area last year, said the Times which cited an unnamed source.
Thousands more American servicemen are due to arrive in the south of the war-torn country in 2010, as part of a buildup in forces to battle a fierce Taliban insurgency.
The command currently switches every year between Britain, the Netherlands and Canada, with a permanent American deputy commander, the paper said.
This structure will be replaced by two division-sized commands of about 30,000 servicemen each in the southeast and southwest, according to the Times.
The new structure will be in place in the second half of this year, the paper said.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence is considering whether to push for a rotating command in the southwest section that will include its forces in Helmand province, the report added.
Referring to this, a source told the paper that “the overall structure… is a work in progress.”