Bush sends more soldiers to Afghanistan

Bogota - United States President George Bush has decided to send another 3 500 troops to Afghanistan, the White House announced on Sunday, which would raise the number of American forces there to 27 000.

"This is part of the effort to speed up the training and expand the size of the Afghan forces," said national security spokesperson Gordon Johndroe.

Johndroe said the request was already alluded to in an address the president made last month on Afghanistan and the global "war on terror".

Bush announced the planned deployment of the additional troops in a letter sent to Congress late on Saturday.

"This request for an additional brigade for training executes that policy announcement," said Johndroe, adding that the troops would be tasked with expand the training of Afghan army and police.

Bush has asked Congress to cut $3.1-billion from federal programmes to finance the additional troops, as well as forces to be sent to Iraq, the spokesperson said.

The funds would also be used to finance the addition of 2 400 support troops to Iraq, and 2 200 more US military police to oversee detainees in Baghdad.

Those troops would be in addition to the 21 500 combat troops the White House has begun to deploy as part of the president's controversial "surge" strategy in Iraq. - Sapa-AFP

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