British PM Rules Out More Troops for Afghanistan

British Prime Minister David Cameron says it is vital NATO forces show progress in pushing back the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan this year, but adds his government will not send additional troops for the effort.

Speaking Thursday at a joint news conference in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Mr. Cameron said the issue of sending more troops to Afghanistan is "not remotely on Britain's agenda." He added British forces should not stay in the country a moment longer than necessary.

While the British leader said he fully supports U.S. President Barack Obama's strategy in Afghanistan, he said the British public needs to see progress and the prospects for the return of British troops.

The trip is Mr. Cameron's first visit to Afghanistan since he took office last month.

Prime Minister Cameron has been conducting a review of Britain's mission in Afghanistan, where the country has about 10,000 troops, making it the second largest foreign contingent after the United States.

Mr. Cameron also announced Thursday that Britain will spend an additional $98 million to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices which militants use to target foreign forces.

Meanwhile, in remarks at a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said increased training of Afghanistan's police and military is critical to guarantee the country's future security and sovereignty.

Washington has been calling for months for NATO partners to send more trainers to Afghanistan. The push comes amid growing public frustration in Europe and the United States about the Afghan mission, which continues to face major setbacks despite last year's troop surge.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.