Britain could send 2,000 more troops to Afghanistan: BBC

November 14th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaLondon, Nov 14 (DPA) Britain could send a further 2,000 troops to Afghanistan next year in response to an expected request by the US under its next president, Barack Obama, the BBC said Friday.The broadcaster said ministers were considering sending reinforcements to Afghanistan, following requests from Afghan leaders.

The British government insisted after talks in London Thursday between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Afghan President Hamid Karzai that troop levels had not been discussed.

It has repeatedly indicated that, as the second-largest troop contributor with 8,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, Britain would like to see other NATO countries supplying more troops.

The ministry of defence said it had not received a request for extra troops.

After the talks in London, Karzai said he told Brown that all efforts were being made “to bring violence down” after the Afghan foreign minister urged Britain to send in more troops.

In a BBC interview later, Karzai praised the contribution of British troops in southern Helmand province. “They have suffered, they have sacrificed lives in Afghanistan. The Afghan people are very grateful for what Britain has done in Afghanistan.”

“If we need more troops to add to security, to close the borders… (to) the entry of extremists and terrorists, the exit of narcotics, well, yes, bring more troops,” Karzai added.

A total of 124 British servicemen and women have so far died in Afghanistan. An opinion poll published Thursday showed that 68 percent of Britons would like to see troops come home within a year.

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