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McChrystal: Afghan success 'not inevitable'

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 01 October 2009

The head of Nato forces in Afghanistan warns that the outcome of war is far from predictable, as he urges reluctant leaders to increase troop numbers.

General Stanley McChrystal (Getty)

General Stanley McChrystal, head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, has used his first speech in the UK to warn that the insurgency there is growing and success cannot be taken for granted.

His speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies comes as divisions emerge in Washington over the campaign in Afghanistan.

General McChrystal wants an increase in numbers from the 68,000 US troops currently in Afghanistan. And with spiralling numbers of troops dying and American support for the eight-year war waning, President Obama is facing calls to make sweeping proposals on the future of the campaign.

General McChrystal is believed to have submitted a request for up to 40,000 more US troops - but today he warned that the outcome of the Afghan campaign is far from predictable.

The conflict in Afghanistan was also on the agenda at the Labour party conference today.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth used his speech to sound sceptical note about the prospect of sending a large reinforcement to Afghanistan.

Britain has 9,000 troops in Afghanistan. British and American commanders are drawing up plans to send more, but ministers are reluctant to authorise the new deployment.

Jon Snow raised the issue of Afghanistan with Prime Minister Gordon Brown before he left the Labour conference this morning.

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