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Brown, Obama in Afghanistan talks as UK pledges more troops

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called US President Barack Obama for talks on Afghanistan as Britain announced it would send in reinforcements after a recent spike in troop deaths.

world Updated: Jul 25, 2009 21:08 IST

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called US President Barack Obama for talks on Afghanistan as Britain announced it would send in reinforcements after a recent spike in troop deaths.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was deploying 125 more troops in Afghanistan on Monday following a surge in deaths this month that has seen the overall toll overtake that suffered during the war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Brown and Obama held telephone talks yesterday on the situation in Afghanistan and stressed the importance of “better military and civilian burden-sharing with NATO allies,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

Brown has been forced to defend Britain’s strategy in Afghanistan following the spike in troops deaths, in a row that has piled the pressure on a government already struggling with the recession and an expenses scandal.

Debate in Britain has focused on whether the troops have enough helicopters available. Several of those killed recently lost their lives due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the ground.

The MoD stressed the new deployment would “ensure specialist skills, notably counter-IED operations, are not lost to commanders.”

The UK has around 9,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, largely battling Taliban insurgents in the troubled southern Helmand Province.