Report: British to boost troops fighting Taliban in Afghanistan

Britain will send an additional 4,500 troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, a newspaper reported Sunday. The British military dismissed the report as speculation. The News of The World cited an unidentified military source as saying those troops would be sent to Afghanistan once soldiers began returning from Iraq - where a major reduction of Britain's presence has been promised for early 2009. Britain's Ministry of Defense refused to comment on the veracity of the report. "We are not willing to engage in speculation about any future announcements regarding troop numbers and deployments," it said in a statement. Last month, British Defense Minister Des Browne told a Washington, DC, audience that while he believed Iraq was headed in the right direction, it would be a longer haul to achieve success in Afghanistan. In June, Browne announced a boost of 230 troops in the British contingent in Afghanistan to a total of more than 8,000.