Britain is to substantially increase its troop presence in one of the world’s most perilous conflict zones.
An extra three and a half thousand soliders will be dispatched to Afghanistan, as the UK takes control of the NATO stabilisation force there later this year. Britain’s defence minister John Reid announced the news, explaining that the troops would be used to help efforts to control southern Afghanistan, a hotbed of drug-trafficking and Taliban activity.
There are around 12,000 troops from some 36 nations serving with the NATO contingent, known as ISAF. It was deployed after the Taliban regime was overthrown in late 2001.A separate US-led coalition of 20,000 soldiers is hunting Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in southern Afghanistan – that has contributed to concerns that the United States is overstretching itself militarily.