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British Troops Could Be Deployed in Kabul by Saturday - 2001-12-18


British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon says troops to lead the international security force could be in the Afghan capital, Kabul, by Saturday.

He says the majority of the 15-hundred British troops would go into Afghanistan after the interim government takes over, but the first elements of the contribution will arrive sooner.

Defense Secretary Hoon told the British Broadcasting Corporation that the British troops' instructions are, in his words, "beyond peacekeeping" and they will have robust rules of engagement to ensure their own safety.

The defense secretary says he anticipates the United Nations Security Council will pass within days a resolution on the international force's mandate.

Mr. Hoon also says he views the British deployment as a "time-limited operation" for a period of months, rather than an open-ended commitment.

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