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NATO ‘to increase troops in Afghanistan’

British Home Secretary Alan Johnson says NATO member countries, including the UK, will dispatch more troops to Afghanistan in the near future.

“All member countries of NATO including UK will send more forces soon to Afghanistan,” Johnson said Tuesday during a joint press conference with Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik in Islamabad.

“Pak-Afghan border is a difficult area. This border is not only posing threat to the whole world but also to both Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

The British official said Pakistan had rendered unprecedented sacrifices in the war against terrorism which could not be ignored.

“Full scale assistance would be extended to Pakistan for the elimination of terrorism”, he announced.

The statement comes as former head of British army revealed in a story published Tuesday in Britain’s Sun newspaper that the UK government has turned down a call for additional troops to Afghanistan.

According to the article, former Gen. Richard Dannatt, revealed the decision to reject a call for 2,000 extra soldiers, expressing disappointment with ministers.

“If the military says we need more troops and we can supply them, then frankly they should take that advice and deploy up to the level we recommend,” he stressed.

Britain, which currently has around 8,300 British troops in Afghanistan, is one of the very few NATO member states involved in combat operations in the war-torn country.

However, a record death toll of 219 since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 has faced Prime Minister Gordon Brown with questions over the scope and purpose of their role in the eight-year war.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama is to attend two high-level meetings this week to discuss with top military and civil advisors whether to send an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan.

The top US commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, earlier said the situation in Afghanistan was serious, warning against any ‘shortsighted strategy’ that ignores stabilizing the war-torn country.

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