[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 12:47 GMT
Australian troops for Afghanistan
UK forces in Helmand
The new troops are expected to be deployed by the end of February
Australia has announced that it will deploy an extra 110 troops to Afghanistan to fight "terrorism".

Two Chinook transport helicopters will also join the country's 190 special services soldiers who are already deployed in Afghanistan.

The move comes amid speculations that the US is seeking to reduce its troops in the country and encourage Nato take more responsibility.

Nato has been trying to finalise a plan to move its troops to the south.

QUICK GUIDE

Australia's Defence Minister Robert Hill said the added contribution would "combat threats of terrorism".

"Afghanistan has made significant progress since its liberation from the Taleban and it is important that the international community continues to work together with the Afghan government to ensure progress continues," he said.

The extra troops are expected to be deployed by the end of February and remain in the country until September 2006.

Mr Hill said his government had agreed in-principle to deploy an Australian provincial reconstruction team (PRT) but had not yet decided on its exact role and composition.

US 'perplexed'

Separately, the United States has said it is concerned about the hesitation of the Dutch government to send troops to southern Afghanistan as part of the beefed up Nato deployment.

"I am perplexed by the debate in the Netherlands," the US Assistant Secretary of State for European affairs Daniel Fried told the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.

"Frankly, I do not understand how the Dutch could pull out," he added.

On Monday, Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer urged the Netherlands to finalise its decision of sending troops to southern Afghanistan.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific