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U.S. to boost air support in Afghanistan: Australian PM

10-04-2010 12:04 BJT

CANBERRA, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The United States will provide extra helicopters to help support Australian and other coalition forces in Afghanistan, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on Monday.

Australian federal government has been under pressure from the opposition to provide more resources, including helicopters and tanks, and increase troop numbers from the 1,550 Australians stationed in the strife-torn nation.

While the Dutch were withdrawing from Oruzgan Province of Afghanistan, Gillard said, the U.S. would take the lead in providing air support to the coalition force.

"If the chief of the defense force says more equipment is necessary then of course we will deal with that urgently," Gillard told ABC Radio in Brussels of Belgium on Monday, insisting Australian troops have adequate equipment and support, referring to a recent 1.1 billion dollars (1.07 billion U.S. dollars) investment by the government.

Gillard, who visited the troops in Tarin Kowt base on the weekend before flying out to Belgium, also reiterated her government's commitment to the conflict, saying Australian troops would likely stay in Afghanistan for up to four years.

The prime minister will confirm that commitment personally to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during a two-day summit in the Belgian capital.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua

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