Merkel: Germany to send 850 extra troops to Afghanistan (UPDATE)
Eds: Adds Merkel confirmation
Germany is to send up to 850 extra soldiers to Afghanistan, Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed Tuesday, DPA reported.
Around 500 of those troops are to be sent directly to join the circa 4,500-strong contingent already there - mostly in the north of the country where Germany holds the regional command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Speaking in Berlin, Merkel confirmed that a further 350 troops would be kept as a "flexible reserve", to be used to provide extra security in events such as the parliamentary election scheduled for the autumn.
A major NATO conference on Afghanistan strategy will take place in London on Thursday. Pressure has been growing on Germany from NATO allies to sent extra troops for the ISAF mission.