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Royal Navy chief satisfied with Afghan troop level

Royal Navy chief satisfied with Afghan troop level
Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:54pm GMT Email | Print | Share | Single Page [-] Text [+]
By Jonathan Saul

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has as many troops in Afghanistan as its defence chiefs want, the head of Britain's Royal Navy said Friday, distancing himself from criticism of the government by the former head of the army.

Britain has said it will send an extra 500 troops to Afghanistan, taking the British force to 9,500. It has been trying to persuade other countries in the NATO-led coalition to send an extra 5,000 soldiers to help fight the Taliban and train Afghan forces.

"As far as our commanders asking for troop levels to do the business that we are involved in, then the numbers that are currently there or planned to be there are exactly what we, the chiefs, have asked the government to provide," Admiral Mark Stanhope told reporters Friday.

"The government has allocated the number of troops that we have asked for," he said on the sidelines of an event at Chatham House, a think tank in London.

Britain has the second largest number of foreign troops in Afghanistan after the United States.

A total of 235 British soldiers have died in the Afghan campaign, making the British mission in the landlocked Asian country a sensitive issue for Prime Minister Gordon Brown ahead of an election next year.

Richard Dannatt, the former head of the army, said earlier this year that military chiefs had asked for an extra 2,000 troops since the start of the year but that Brown had refused to send them. Brown denies that he has rejected recommendations to send more troops.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who vowed Tuesday to "finish the job" in Afghanistan, may announce next week that he will send an extra 30,000 troops, U.S. officials say
That was quick, best get used to a slew of these in light of the announcement of the makeup and locations of the Question Time on the 10th

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