UK to send 500 more groups to Afghanistan

BrownsPrime Minister Gordon Brown is increasing British group levels in Afghanistan to 9,500 -- an increase of 500, he announced Wednesday.

"We will now move additional and faster with our plan" of training Afghan forces to take responsibility for the country's security, he said.

The British have the second-largest contingent in Afghanistan, after the United States, which has about 31,800, according to NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

Opposition leader David Cameron of the conventional Party immediately challenged Brown to explain why he was sending 500 troops rather than the 2,000 which Cameron said military commanders required.

Brown said he made his choice based on military advice and in discussion with allies including the United States.

Before making his statement in Parliament, Brown paid tribute to the 37 British groups who had been killed in Afghanistan during the lawmakers' summer vacation, naming each individually.

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