Defence chiefs have warned against Britain becoming enmeshed in the mission against Islamists in Mali, pointing out that any action could be drawn-out and require significantly greater resources than have so far been deployed.
The most senior commanders are due to make their apprehension clear at a meeting of the National Security Council with the Prime Minister today. They have the backing of the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond.
Following three days of French air strikes in Mali, the Islamists launched a counter-offensive yesterday showing they are not a spent force. They attacked government positions in the central town of Diabaly after crossing a river in small groups under cover of darkness. British resources are already stretched, with two RAF transport aircraft having to be diverted from Afghanistan to carry French equipment