Afghanistan has welcomed an announcement that the United States will send up to 30,000 more troops to the country, but has asked that the additional forces be deployed where most needed and that they help train Afghan forces.
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AFP - Afghanistan on Sunday welcomed a pledge of tens of thousands of additional US troops on the ground within six months, but said they should be deployed in the volatile south and on the border with Pakistan.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Saturday that Washington could send up to 30,000 more troops here by next summer -- which would nearly double the number of US forces in the country.
Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen said Kabul hoped the new troops would be sent to areas where Taliban fighters waging an increasingly bloody insurgency are at their most active.
"We welcome the increase in US troops in Afghanistan. We have, however, two main demands," Baheen told AFP.
"The first is that these forces should be deployed in places where they are needed -- particularly in (southern) Helmand (province) and along our eastern borders, from where terrorists infiltrate into our country," he said.
"Secondly, this increase should help intensify the training and equipping of Afghan national security forces so they are able to better contribute to the fight against terror and defend the country."
Remnants of the Taliban, who were ousted from government in a US-led invasion in late 2001, have stepped up attacks in recent years, especially in southern and eastern Afghanistan along the porous border with Pakistan.
Afghan officials say the fighters have set up safe havens in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt on the border, and accuse Islamabad of not doing enough to put a stop to cross-border operations against Afghan and foreign forces here.
Date created : 2008-12-21