Obama sending 'extra 30,000 troops' to Afghanistan

President Barack Obama is sending 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan to be deployed over six months, a senior administration official said today.

In his speech this evening, Obama also will lay out a rough timeframe, including some dates, for when the main US military mission will end.

The official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details had not yet been announced.

The 30,000 new troops will bring the total in Afghanistan to more than 100,000 US forces.

The main mission of the new troops will be to reverse Taliban gains and secure population centres in the volatile south and east parts of the country.

Nato diplomats later said Obama was asking European members of the military alliance to contribute between 5,000 and 10,000 new troops to the international force in Afghanistan.

One official from a European nation said the troop figure was included in an official Nato document compiled on the basis of information received from Washington ahead of Obama’s announcement later today of new US troop deployments.

He said France was being asked to provide 1,500 troops.

A second official, from another European member nation, also said Europe was being asked for up to 10,000 more troops, which would mean up to 40,000 new troops being sent, taking into account the extra 30,000 US troops Obama is set to deploy.

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