Britain to step up troop levels in Afghanistan: Brown

June 17th, 2008 - 7:22 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown
London, June 16 (DPA) Britain is to send more troops to Afghanistan, increasing its presence in the country to its highest level so far, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday. Speaking at a joint news conference in London with US President George W. Bush, Brown said security was on its way to being “transformed” in Afghanistan.

He said Britain and the US were working “side by side” both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Defence Secretary Des Browne was expected to announce later Monday that Britain will send 230 engineers, logistical staff and military training experts to Afghanistan, where around 7,800 British troops are currently based.

Bush and Brown agreed that there must not be an “artificial timetable” for troop withdrawals from Iraq.

Bush said any troop cuts must “not be dictated by politics,” adding that Brown shared this view.

“I have no problem with how Gordon Brown deals with Iraq,” said Bush.

Brown said British troops had a “job to finish” in Iraq. There would be “no artificial timetable” for withdrawal, but progress was being made in training Iraqi forces, he said.

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