North Atlantic Treaty Organisation looks to increase troop numbers for Afghan training missions

10 November, 2017, 03:03 | Author: Leticia Walters
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"Unfortunately, Washington persistently continues to make allegations against us, while refusing to specify them", Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in October. So far in 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense has spent US$2.2 billion on its Afghanistan mission, according to an investigative report by The Balance.

The top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, said there is concern that the US may need to fill a shortfall.

Germany, one of the main European troop contributors, said at this point it was not increasing its contribution for next year.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to discuss troop numbers in Afghanistan, but did say that more than two dozen nations have indicated they are willing to provide more troops.

"The issue has been partly solved on the local level at the moment, but a standardized procedure is needed", Mattis said at a press conference at NATO Headquarters.

Mr. Nicholson said he was concerned that the United States would again be put in a position where it would have to fill the shortfall.

Taliban and Islamic State attacks occur every few days. "So, I've only been at 80 percent of that minimum number, and that's why we've had a higher level of risk".

Before the ministers' meeting, U.S. officials said about 80 percent of the troop commitments had been met by the allies. The U.S. now has about 15,000 troops in Afghanistan, with some conducting counterterrorism missions and others serving as part of NATO's Resolute Support advisory effort.

Stoltenberg also said he was encouraged that the USA and "other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and partners will continue to provide nearly US$1 billion each year to the Afghan defense and security forces".

Mattis said the aim is to back up Afghanistan's security forces in support of an eventual political reconciliation with the Taliban.



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