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More US Troops Possible For Iraqi Elections, says Rumsfeld - 2004-10-09

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the Pentagon may send more troops to Iraq to guard against insurgent violence during January's elections.

Mr. Rumsfeld is meeting Saturday with counterparts from 18 countries aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. He expressed hope other nations will bear some of the responsibility for ensuring a smooth vote.

Referring to Saturday's election in Afghanistan, he said there are 1,000 additional American troops stationed in that country as well as forces sent by NATO.

In Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld said there are about 100,000 Iraqi soldiers fighting alongside some 135,000 U.S. troops. He said that by January, there should be 40,000 more qualified Iraqi soldiers.

Mr. Rumsfeld said it will be up to U.S. commanders to decide if more troops are needed. The secretary will meet with his NATO counterparts in Romania Wednesday to review similar issues.