Rumsfeld: More forces needed before Iraq election
The United States may dispatch more soldiers to Iraq to protect elections in January if US commanders decide they are needed, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.
According to AFP, Rumsfeld flew to Bahrain for an unannounced meeting aboard a US aircraft carrier in the Gulf to review the situation in Iraq with defense ministers from 18 countries, most of them with troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.
On the flight from Washington on Saturday, Rumsfeld said the United States was trying to locate nations to provide troops to protect the UN mission that is supposed to organize the elections in Iraq.
Whether the United States sends more troops to Iraq, as it has for elections in Afghanistan, "is up to General (John) Abizaid and General (George) Casey," Rumsfeld said.
"To the extent that's appropriate and needed, obviously that makes sense," he said. "To the extent other countries come in and take some of that responsibility, then that might not be necessary."
Meanwhile, British hostage Ken Bigley escaped for half an hour before he was beheaded, it was reported Satruday. His captors said the 62-year-old was helped by one of the hostage-takers.
Iraqi sources told Reuters news agency that the engineer fled onto farmland in Latifiya but was caught. "He never made it to the main street," the source said.
A Western security source is reported to have said Bigley was killed because he had tried to escape.
Other reports suggested he had been beheaded because his captors feared they were about to be uncovered by American troops.
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