Australia to send 280 more troops to Afghanistan

Australia will send 280 additional troops to Afghanistan, increasing the military's overall deployment there to about 1,380, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday. It is the first increase by Australia - the biggest contributor to the US-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 said he discussed the additional deployment with US 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.