British commanders want tanks to fight Taliban

Battle tanks were used by USSR during its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

London: Senior British Army commanders have asked for Challenger 2 tanks to be deployed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand to fight the Taliban.

The tanks would provide close support for infantry and protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the Sunday Times and The Telegraph quoted the commanders, as saying.

The move follows a decision by the US to send a similar number of heavy Abrams tanks.

Until now, the Ministry of Defence has turned down requests for Challengers in Afghanistan, for fear that it would send out the wrong message to locals.

Battle tanks were used by the USSR during its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The machines` burned out hulks still litter the landscape.

The coalition government announced in the strategic defence review that it would cut the Army`s 345, 63-ton Challengers by about 40 percent.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said that no decision had yet been made.