US to send more troops ahead of Afghan legislative polls

KABUL, Jul 11, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Pentagon has decided to deploy more troops ahead of Afghan parliamentary elections to provide secure environment for the process, US military spokesman said Monday.

"An Airborne Infantry battalion is preparing to deploy in Afghanistan in order to provide additional flexibility to support mission on terrorism as we have here and provide a safe and secure environment for the elections," James Yonts told reporters at a news briefing here.

He did not give an exact date for the arrival of the new contingent but added the "Airborne will arrive soon."

The announcement comes amid increasing insurgency and Taliban' s threat to derail the first post-Taliban parliamentary polls slated for Sept. 18.

Remnants of the former fundamentalist regime who vowed to fight the US military presence in the war-torn central Asian state till last in their latest attack killed 11 policemen in southern Helmand province Sunday.

The bloody attack followed heavy fighting in eastern Kunar province in which over a dozen militants and civilians as well as 19 US soldiers have lost their lives over the past 10 days.

More than 18,000 US-dominated coalition troops, over 8,000 NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in conjunction with Afghan army and Police have been tasked to ensure security for the coming Afghan legislative polls.

"The coalition stands alongside the government of Afghanistan to ensure that the Afghan people are free to exercise their right on politics and self-determination to cast their votes on Sept. 18, " the US army spokesman emphasized.

In a similar step, NATO is also boasting its troops in Afghanistan ahead of the landmark polls to enable Afghans use their franchise free of Taliban threat on the Election Day.