Prime Minister Gordon Brown is increasing British troop levels in Afghanistan to 9,500 — an increase of 500, he announced Wednesday.
“We will now move further and faster with our strategy” of training Afghan forces to take responsibility for the country’s security, he said. The British have the second-largest contingent in Afghanistan, after the United States, which has about 31,800, according to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Opposition leader David Cameron of the Conservative Party immediately challenged Brown to explain why he was sending 500 troops rather than the 2,000 which Cameron said military commanders wanted. Brown said he made his decision based on military advice and in consultation with allies including the United States. Before making his statement in Parliament, Brown paid tribute to the 37 British troops who had been killed in Afghanistan during the lawmakers’ summer vacation, naming each individually.