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U.K. To Deploy Troops To Afghan South

1 October 2005 -- British Defense Secretary John Reid has said his country plans to deploy troops to volatile southern Afghanistan after it takes over command of the NATO security force in the country next year.

Speaking to reporters after talks with Afghan Defense Minister Rahim Wardak in Kabul today, Reid said Britain was committed to leading the International Security Assistance Force from May 2006.

Britain currently has nearly 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

The deployment is part of the U.S.-led coalition hunting Taliban and al-Qaida rebels and the NATO-led force providing
security in the capital, north and west of the country.

Reid acknowledged objections among NATO allies about combining the NATO-led ISAF operation into a single mission with the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom. But he said NATO had already decided in principle that there will be closer synergy.

Reid is scheduled to meet with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai today as he continues a four- day visit to the war-torn country.