Bulgaria to boost troops in Afghanistan

SOFIA, June 10 (Reuters) - Bulgaria will increase its troops in Afghanistan by 70 soldiers, boosting its deployment in the NATO-led forces to 340, the government decided on Tuesday.

The new NATO member will send 50 more soldiers to its 220-strong contingent that guards the airport of the southern Afghan town of Kandahar and 20 more to join 50 soldiers in the capital Kabul, the government said in a statement. The deployment is expected in the next few days.

Washington has urged NATO partners to send more soldiers to Afghanistan, where Afghan and international forces have struggled to contain Taliban attacks and suicide bombs.

The Balkan country has deployed troops within the 40-nation NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which according to NATO has almost 53,000 troops, since February 2002. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Ilieva; Editing by Janet Lawrence)