Britain sending 900 more soldiers to southern Afghanistan

Britain is sending 900 more soldiers to the southern Afghanistan province where its forces are facing intense resistance from a resurgent Taliban, the defense secretary said.

Britain has about 3,600 troops in the volatile province of Helmand, about 1,200 based mainly in the Afghan capital, Kabul and a few hundred more in the southern city of Kandahar.

By October, Britain will have around 4,500 soldiers in Helmand, Browne said.

Six Britons have been killed in Helmand in the past month, nearly half the military's 13 deaths in Afghanistan since 2001.

"We have taken casualties, but we have overmatched the opposing forces every single time we have faced them," Defense Secretary Des Browne told lawmakers in the House of Commons. "They have tried to block our mission and failed."

Senior military commanders acknowledge British troops who began arriving in Helmand in February have faced more resistance than they had initially anticipated, although Browne denied that was the case.

The commanders say several hundred Taliban loyalists, bolstered by militia fighters and opium trafficking gangs, have attempted to strike British forces early in their mission.

Browne said that around 200 reserve troops stationed in Cyprus would deploy to Helmand in the next few weeks.

Officials say many of the additional troops will remain for at least six months, as NATO takes charge of the peacekeeping mission across southern Afghanistan at the end of the month, reports AP.

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