Gordon Brown Asks NATO Allies to Send More Troops in Afghanistan

The Prime Minister professed his confidence in Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s desire to end corruption and insisted that allied forces operating in Afghanistan could muster an additional 5,000 troops in addition to the US troop surge being debated in Washington.

One week ago Mr Brown cautioned Mr Karzai that unless he quashed endemic corruption he would have forfeited his right to international support.

"I am not prepared to put the lives of British men and women in harm's way for a Government that does not stand up against corruption," he said , Times Online reports.

It was also reported, the Prime Minister said he was confident that President Barack Obama will follow his approach by backing a short-term increase in troop numbers in Afghanistan.

Britain has more than 9,000 troops in Afghanistan and has taken 232 casualties since 2001. Mr Brown insisted that he has a strategy for withdrawing them, but gave no timetable for that.

"You cannot be an occupying army forever," Mr Brown said in a BBC Radio Four interview. "Our strategy will be Afghan control of their own affairs. That will take some time but then British troops will start coming home."

He added: "British troops will start coming home as we start to show the Afghan forces can run their own affairs," Telegraph.co.uk reports.

News agencies also report, Mr Brown said he wanted to encourage members of the NATO-led coalition to share the burden of combat and help train Afghan soldiers. Britain wants to gradually hand over control of areas of the country to Afghan forces to pave the way for an eventual withdrawal of Western forces.

"I am asking them to help, I think we could probably get another 5,000 forces into Afghanistan from ... NATO and outside NATO .., and Britain will be part of that," he told BBC radio.

U.S. President Barack Obama is considering whether to boost U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan and Britain has said it is prepared to send another 500 troops, but only as part of a wider increase in forces, Reuters reports.

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