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UK to send 440 additional troops to Afghanistan, nearly doubling deployment

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will pledge to send 440 extra troops to Afghanistan during the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday, July 10 as the alliance is urged to contribute more.

The extra troops will be from the Welsh Guards regiment, with around half deploying in August and a second contingent to follow in February.

“In committing additional troops to the Train Advise Assist operation in Afghanistan we have underlined once again that when NATO calls the UK is among the first to answer,” May is expected to say at the summit.

The troops will help “bring the stability and security that the Afghan people deserve,” she is expected to say.

The extra deployment will take the total number of British troops in the country to around 1,100.

The last U.K. combat troops left Afghanistan in 2014 after being involved in the conflict since 2001.

NATO handed over responsiblity for security in Afghanistan to local forces at the end of 2014 but has a 16,000 personnel in the training and support mission in the country.

NATO asked the United Kingdom to deploy more forces last year.

Last month the Netherlands defense ministry said it would end its contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali and instead send Dutch troops to the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

In February, Lithuania announced it would deploy special forces to Afghanistan in a train-and-assist role. Lithuania’s parliament has imposed a limit of 50 soldiers in Afghanistan.

A month earlier, Azerbaijan deployed a group of military personnel to the Resolute Support mission, increasing its number of troops in Afghanistan to 120 from 94.

NATO is also in the process of expanding its Resolute Support mission by 3,000 troops – half from the United States – in an attempt to “break the stalemate” the with the Taliban, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last year.

With reporting from AFP


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