Australia ups Afghan troop commitment

Australia ups Afghan troop commitmentSydney  - Australia on Wednesday answered a call from the US White House and pledged to increase its military personnel in Afghanistan from 1,100 to 1,550.

However, it may be disappointing for US President Barack Obama, who phoned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week, that most of those newly deployed will be there to help build bridges, guard installations or train the Afghan National Army rather than fight the Taliban militants.

"We must not allow Afghanistan to once again become the unimpeded training ground and operating base for global terrorist activity," Rudd told reporters. "Australia concurs with the United States that the current civilian and military strategy is not working."

Since Australia joined in the US-led invasion in late 2001 to oust the Taliban administration, 10 of its soldiers have been killed in the restive south of the country. (dpa)