Australia to send 280 more troops to Afghanistan

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Australia will send 280 additional troops to Afghanistan, increasing the overall Australian deployment there to about 1,380.

It is the first increase by Australia - the biggest contributor to the U.S.-led coalition outside NATO - since Rudd took office in 2007.

Rudd told reporters the new troops primarily would train Afghan security forces in their battle against insurgents. He says he discussed the additional deployment with President Barack Obama last week.

Also, an additional 120 troops will be deployed temporarily, for an eight-month stint to enhance security during Afghanistan's national elections in August, Rudd said.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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