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Britiain to dispatch extra 500 troops to Afghanistan

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 17:51

Zeenews Bureau

Washington: Asserting that the current number of troops is insufficient to handle the terror threat in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that he would be sending 500 extra troops thus taking the total number of British forces in Afghanistan to 9,500.

Admitting that government corruption was rampant and without an internal overhaul a sustainable battle against al Qaeda and Taliban was difficult, he said that “Nation building in Afghanistan and Pakistan was a must and we need more and better Afghan participation.”

“Our commitment is part of agreed coalition strategy,” he said.

Brown, announced his decision on Wednesday, along with a number of conditions to deploying the extra troops.

The conditions include "a North Atlantic Treaty Organization strategy for the training of Afghan civil and military personnel, proper equipment and a new Afghan government being in place" after August elections were marred by allegations of fraud.
Amid spiraling violence and waning public support for the eight-year war, US President Barack Obama has struggled to persuade even Washington`s closest allies to dispatch more troops to Afghanistan.

Britain has the second-largest NATO contingent in Afghanistan behind the United States.

Georgia plans to send a battalion of 1,000 troops to the southern province of Helmand in 2010, while other countries like Macedonia are planning to send several dozen soldiers.

Canada is set to withdraw its troops from the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in 2011, although a government spokesman said last week that Ottowa may keep some troops beyond the Parliament-mandated deadline to serve in development and reconstruction roles.

And Japan said on Tuesday it will end in January its Indian Ocean naval refueling mission in support of US-led operations in Afghanistan.

First Published: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 17:51

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