Obama's delay 'is affecting British support'

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President Obama’s delay in authorising a US troop surge in Afghanistan had contributed to falling public support in Britain for the mission, Bob Ainsworth said yesterday.

The Defence Secretary said that as well as the “period of hiatus” in Washington, the deaths of British troops and the disputed Afghan elections had also played a part.

Mr Obama is preparing to announce his decision on troop numbers next week, it emerged yesterday, ending months of wrangling.

Mr Ainsworth’s comments came as the British Ambassador to Kabul entered the bitter debate in the Obama Administration by openly siding with General Stanley McChrystal’s request to send thousands more troops.

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