Brown confirms 500 more UK troops to be deployed in December
Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirmed Monday that Britain will send 500 more troops to Afghanistan beginning in early December, noting that the total British troop force in the country will then exceed 10,000.
AFP - Britain will boost its regular troops in Afghanistan by 500 to 9,500 in December, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday, adding that with other forces its total would be more than 10,000.
"I can confirm that we will now move to a force level of 9,500," he said, confirming that three conditions previously set for the increase, including contributions by other NATO countries, had been met.
Eight other NATO members, apart from the United States, had agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan, he said, citing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Last month, Brown said Britain would send an extra 500 troops to Afghanistan, taking its deployment there to 9,500, on three conditions.
These were that the Afghan government show a commitment to providing police and soldiers who can be trained to engage in combat; that British troops are properly equipped and that other NATO countries also boost force levels.
Telling lawmakers in the House of Commons that these had been met, Brown said that the total number of personnel including special forces and others in the area would be "in excess of 10,000 troops".
"I believe over the coming months, even more countries will respond," he said, adding that eight countries had already made offers of additional troops and others were likely to follow.
"As long as the Afghanistan/Pakistan border areas are the location of choice for Al-Qaeda and the epicentre of global terrorism, it's the government's judgement that we should address the threat at its source."
His announcement came as a White House spokesman said that US President Barack Obama has already ordered his new Afghan strategy to be implemented and is informing the leaders of Russia, Britain and France of his plans.
Obama is expected to announce a long-awaited surge in US troops in a speech on Tuesday.