Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 12:30 UK

Germany to bolster Afghan force

German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung
Mr Jung said the new soldiers will be based in the more stable north

Germany says it will send 1,000 more soldiers to join the Nato-led peace-keeping force in Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung's announcement comes after months of pressure from Nato allies to boost deployment in the country.

In February the US urged Germany to send soldiers to southern Afghanistan, the heart of the Taleban insurgency.

But Mr Jung announced that the troops would be sent to the more stable north, where they will help reconstruction.

The bulk of the country's 3,500 troops are already based in the north of Afghanistan and around the capital, Kabul.

Mr Jung said the increased numbers would bring the number of German soldiers working within the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) to 4,500 and give them "a little more flexibility".

In April, the German army's chief of staff called for more troops in the north following a series of attacks on soldiers.

Germany is set to take over control of the quick reaction force based in the north next month.

The country has resisted calls to send more troops to the higher-risk southern parts of Afghanistan, saying that a division of labour had already been agreed between nations contributing to the 40,000-strong Isaf.

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