PM to send 500 more to Afghanistan
Gordon Brown is expected to announce the deployment of about 500 additional British troops to Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister will make a Commons statement on the state of the conflict following a difficult summer marked by rising casualties, concerns over the conduct of the Afghan presidential elections, and uncertainty over US President Barack Obama's future plans.
But before making the announcement, Mr Brown is expected to read out a grim roll call of 37 troops who died while MPs were on their summer recess.
Mr Brown was also hit by the disclosure by the recently retired head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, that the Prime Minister had rejected military advice to commit an additional 2,000 troops to the fight against the Taliban.
Gen Dannatt's claims sparked a full-scale political row after it was disclosed he had agreed to become a military adviser to the Tories, prompting some Labour MPs to question whether he had been pursuing a political agenda all along.
A more immediate concern, however, is the long-term plans of the Americans.
The US President is currently considering a proposal by the commander of international forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, for up to 40,000 more international troops.
Gen McChrystal wants to pursue a full-scale counter-insurgency strategy - establishing security by building support for the coalition among the ordinary Afghan population.
However others in the US administration, including Vice-President Joe Biden, are reported to favour a more limited counter-terrorism strategy using unmanned aerial drones and special forces' raids to hit al-Qaida targets.
On Tuesday night in Washington, Mr Obama was giving little away about when he would reach a decision on Gen McChrystal's proposals, saying only that he would make an announcement in "the coming weeks".