“Hold alliance troop levels in Afghanistan steady at about 12,000”

The NATO allies decided on Tuesday to hold alliance troop levels in Afghanistan steady at about 12,000 next year and launched a campaign to fund the 350,000 Afghan forces it hopes can some day secure the country against Taliban militants. Fourteen years after the United States first sent troops to Afghanistan, NATO governments have doubts about the ability of its army and police to defend against Taliban fighters, who briefly took over the northern city of Kunduz in September. As a result, the 28-member Western alliance is abandoning plans to slash its troop levels by the end of this year. “We are in Afghanistan to prevent that Afghanistan again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists … that is also in our security interest to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Excluding U.S. counter-terrorism forces, NATO will have about 12,000 troops in Afghanistan for most of next year, made up of about 7,000 U.S. forces and 5,000 from the rest of NATO and its partners such as non-NATO member Georgia”.

 

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