Britain may boost troops in Afghanistan

Dec. 21, 2008 at 11:26 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Britain may increase its troop strength in Afghanistan to augment a similar increase by the United States, Defense Secretary John Hutton said Sunday.

Hutton said Britain would consider any request from the United States for more of its troops. The United States plans to add up to 30,000 soldiers to its existing strength in Afghanistan by next summer, the Scotsman reported.

"When we receive such a request, obviously we would look at it very, very carefully. We need more security in Afghanistan, that's quite clear," Hutton was quoted as saying.

NATO has asked its members to commit more of their forces in Afghanistan to support the U.S. effort.

"We want to ensure that as the U.S. increases we have a proper balance between what the Americans are doing and what the other allies are doing -- both for military and political reasons," NATO spokesman James Appathurai was quoted as saying.

Britain's opposition Foreign Secretary William Hague, while noting that sending more British troops to Afghanistan should not be ruled out, told the BBC, "We have got to bear in mind that the British troops have borne a disproportionate share of the burden so far and many other NATO nations have not engaged in the serious fighting British troops have had to do."

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