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More US Troops Ordered to Afghanistan as Part of Surge

The U.S. Defense Department has ordered more than 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, as part of a surge approved by President Barack Obama.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman Tuesday said 2,600 soldiers, mostly from the Fort Hood, Texas base, will be headed to Afghanistan, accompanied by about 500 support troops.

In Afghanistan, NATO forces said two drone strikes in southern Helmand province late Monday killed 16 suspected militants. A NATO statement said one missile hit a safe house in the Now Zad area, where a large number of insurgents were preparing ammunition. A second strike killed three armed fighters in Nad Ali district.

Also Tuesday, NATO denied allegations by residents of southern Helmand province that foreign troops opened fire on demonstrators protesting the alleged desecration of the Koran. NATO acknowledged that troops were present at the gathering, but it said an insurgent sniper was firing on the crowd. The alliance said its troops identified and killed the gunman.

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