Number of Afghan troops to be raised to 86,000

Kabul, January 20, 2008 (Padjwok News): Defense ministry informed Afghanistan will have 70, 000 Afghan National Army (ANA) troops in the first quarter of the current year and it will be increased to 86,000 with the support of international community, officials said on Sunday.

Col. Syed Ishaq Paiman in a press release mailed to Pajhwok Afghan News said the presidential office endorsed to increase number of troops to 70,000.

He giving no more details hoped when the total number of ANA completes in first quarter of the current year the international community will be ready at that time to announce its support for training more 16000 ANA troops.

He said: "We hope the 86,000 ANA troops would be able to solve the problem of insecurity."

Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak some days back told a press conference that the NATO have been working to define the number of ANA troops needed for Afghanistan.

70,000 ANA troops were chosen in Bon conference in March 2001, but Afghan authorities say it is the positive result of faster attraction and teaching of the officers that Afghanistan will have 70,000 troops in the first quarter of current year.