UK to temporarily increase Afghan troop numbers
Gordon Brown updated MPs on the situation in Afghanistan
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Wednesday, 29, Apr 2009 01:02
An extra 700 British troops will be sent to Afghanistan to cover the country's upcoming elections, the government has announced.
Outlining a new strategy for the ongoing battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Gordon Brown said the number of British troops deployed in the country would rise to 9,000.
A written statement from defence secretary John Hutton said the total would then drop back to an enduring presence of 8,300 in 2010.
The extra troops are expected to acts as reinforcements but also enhance the military's ability to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"These devices are a major threat to our troops, those of our Allies and to the ordinary Afghan people," Mr Hutton said.
"We are deploying personnel with a range of skills to detect, dispose and exploit IEDs and to prevent them being laid."
As well as an increase in troop numbers, more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will also be deployed.
Mr Brown recently visited both Afghanistan and Pakistan and met with troops based in Helmand province.
During the visit he spoke of a "chain of terror" linking the mountainous border region between the two countries and the UK.
Mr Brown's statement to the House of Commons came a day after the Ministry of Defence confirmed the death of a British soldier in south Afghanistan.
The soldier, from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was the 153rd member of service personnel to die in Afghanistan since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.