Ministers expect request for more troops in Afghanistan

Government tries to shore up public support as Britain suffers bloodiest month

Ministers are expecting General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, to request reinforcements when he reviews the mission.

This news comes as the government struggles to shore up public support for the military campaign. British forces in Afghanistan have suffered the bloodiest month since the US-led invasion in 2001, with 94 British casualties in July, double the number in June and four times as many as in May.

Hazel Hunt, the mother of the 200th British soldier to die in combat called for politicians to "get out on the frontline" themselves to see how badly troops needed resources.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Defence attempted to explain the spike in casualties by outlining changes in the tactics being used by the Taliban.

Lieutenant General Simon Mayall, the deputy chief of defence staff, said: "It is a question of commanders using the assets at their disposal at the point of main effect. The Taliban are inevitably moving to areas where they are under less pressure."

Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, has insisted that progress is being made on the ground and that the war is "winnable".

In America, Barack Obama was also seeking to encourage public support for the war, as he sent more forces to Afghanistan. He said: "Those who attacked American on 9/11 are plotting to do so again."

It is believed that General Stanley McChrystal will ask for more resources after nextr week's Afghan elections. Asked about the prospect of an increase in security forces in Helmand, Mayal said: "It is absolutely the best opportunity to create a better outcome for the Afghan people."