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Last Updated: Monday, 8 October 2007, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Scots troops plan for Afghanistan
UK soldiers in Afghanistan
More than 6,000 British troops are currently in Afghanistan
The Ministry of Defence is planning to send more Scottish troops to Afghanistan next year, it has emerged.

"Large numbers" of soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland are already being trained for the deployment.

Military sources have confirmed the intention to send troops from the Royal Highland Fusiliers and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to Helmand.

However, the proposals will not be finalised until the defence secretary makes a statement to MPs.

It has been reported that up to 1,400 Scots soldiers could be involved in the deployment.

Military sources

BBC Scotland's Westminster correspondent David Porter said the troops would probably be sent to Helmand next March.

"Although the MoD is not confirming it publicly, military sources have confirmed to me that there are plans to send large numbers of Scottish troops from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and Royal Highland Fusiliers out to Afghanistan next spring," he said.

The fighting there tends to be ratcheted down over the winter season because conditions are so hard
Gordon McKenzie
Military analyst

"These plans won't become finalised until the secretary of state for defence gets up and makes a statement in the House of Commons. These plans could change."

Military analyst Gordon McKenzie told BBC Radio Scotland that many soldiers returning from Iraq could be redeployed to Afghanistan next year.

"The fighting there (Helmand) tends to be ratcheted down over the winter season because conditions are so hard, but it would be started up again in the spring," he said.

"They are talking about sending all the parachute troops that the British has, including the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who now train with the parachute regiments, and taking the numbers in Afghanistan up to something like 8,000."

There are currently more than 6,000 British troops in Afghanistan, with the majority in the southern part of the country.

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