UK, Australia send more troops to Afghanistan

Just as Britain has announced a draw-down of 1,600 troops in Iraq, comes the news it will be sending some 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Of the 35,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, some 5,600 are British, mainly deployed in Helmand. (The Independent, Feb. 23) Australia has also announced it will send more crack SAS troops to Afghanistan. There are currently 550 Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, mostly in Oruzgan. (The West, Australia, Feb. 23) NATO took command of US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan in October. (ISAF homepage) US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley after a Feb. 22 meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called upon other alliance members to shoulder more of the burden in Afghanistan. (OnlineNews, Pakistan, Feb. 22)

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