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Australia likely to double troops in Afghanistan
February 22, 2007 08:48 IST
Australia is poised to nearly double its military commitment to Afghanistan to about 1000 personnel.
A local radio on Thursday said that cabinet's national security committee has approved initial planning for the deployment -- which includes sending a special forces task group back to Oruzgan province and additional air support -- with a Defence team to report back soon on its scope.
Australia will send a small group of military officials to Afghanistan to assess whether more troops need to be deployed to the Oruzgan province.
Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said the government is very concerned about the activities of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He said the government was worried the Taliban is reorganising in the province and says troops will face a Taliban offensive soon.
The United States has increased its troop numbers in eastern Afghanistan, he said.
Nelson has told a radio programme that he recently spoke to the other seven defence ministers who have troops in southern Afghanistan."No Australian should be surprised. In fact I would like to think they would support it. The people who murdered 100 Australians in Bali trained in this place with these people and that's why we're there," he said.