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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 04:09 GMT
Australia increases Afghan force
UK forces in Helmand
The Australian troops will boost a multinational force
Australia says it will send another 200 troops to Afghanistan, to work on reconstruction projects in the south.

The group will be a "mixed security and reconstruction task force", announced Prime Minister John Howard.

The Australian Defence Force troops will be sent in late July for a two-year mission and form part of a Dutch-led team.

The deployment will almost double the Australian military presence in Afghanistan to nearly 500 soldiers.

In January, Australia announced a new deployment of 110 troops to Afghanistan to fight "terrorism".

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

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