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NATO to deploy 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan, half from US – Stoltenberg

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said increase to 16,000 NATO troops would help "break the stalemate"

NATO defense ministers are set to agree on Thursday to deploy 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in an attempt to help “break the stalemate” in the country, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, November 7.

“There will be more troops. Current level is around 13,000, the new level will be around 16,000… so far indications are roughly half U.S., half non-U.S.,” Stoltenberg said.

“We have decided to increase the number of troops … to help the Afghans break the stalemate,” Stoltenberg said, emphasizing that the additional personnel would be part of the Resolute Support train, advise and assist mission and would not have combat roles.

“We are focusing on training the Afghan special operations forces, which have proven so key in the fight against the insurgents,” he said, adding that there will also be more help to develop the Afghan Air Force.

Jim Mattis and John Nicholson at Resolute Support HQ, Afghanistan
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Army General John Nicholson, commander of Resolute Support, greet Nicholson’s liasion at the Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 24, 2017. Image: DOD/U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley/flickr/CC BY 2.0

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in September that more than 3,000 additional U.S. troops would be deployed to Afghanistan under the Trump administrations’s new strategy for the country, which could mean that 1,500 American personnel will be deployed to the U.S.-led counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan.

Resolute Support commander General John Nicholson, who is also commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, called for a few thousand extra troops in February, saying it would help weaken the Taliban and other Islamist militants.

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