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KABUL, Nov 23: A brigade of 3,500-4,000 extra US troops due in Afghanistan in January would be deployed in the east amid efforts to stop infiltration of militants from Pakistan, the US military said on Sunday.

The brigade has been approved as part of requested US troop reinforcements for Afghanistan’s fight against extremists, US military spokesman Col Greg Julian told reporters in Kabul.

“The first brigade that is coming will go into the (Nato-led) RC-East (Regional Command East) and they are going to move into areas that are currently not covered,” Col Julian said.

The area includes about a dozen provinces, many of which are on the border with Pakistan.

“We recognise that there are certain lines or avenues that the insurgents come through (from Pakistan) and we are focussing our efforts on those,” he said.

International and Afghan troops along with counterparts in Pakistan this month launched “Operation Lionheart” along the border. “This operation will help to deny the enemies of Afghanistan safe havens in Pakistan,” Brig-Gen Richard Blanchette, spokesman for a Nato-led force working alongside the US-led coalition and Afghan army, told the briefing.

Cooperation between Nato troops and the Pakistani army was the best it had ever been, said Brig-Gen Blanchette.

The cooperation was the result of tripartite meetings between Isaf, the Afghan military and Pakistani forces, he said. “This is not only a cooperation in the execution. This is also a cooperation that has happened in the planning,” he remarked.—Agencies

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