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NATO leaders to mull more troops for Afghanistan

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NATO will soon consider Gen. John Nicholson’s request for deploying a few thousand more troops to Afghanistan, says the supreme allied commander for Europe.

NATO’s chiefs of defense met in Brussels on Wednesday to assess the alliance’s current and future work and to float recommendations for their nations’ political leaders, who are scheduled to meet next week.

After the meeting, Gen. Curtis M Scaparrotti told reporters the NATO heads of state would respond to the call. “And I would tell you from a military perspective the sooner we can provide him his shortages, the better.”

Also present at the presser were Chairman of NATO Military Committee Gen. Petr Pavel and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Gen. Denis Mercier.

In response to a query, Gen. Scaparrotti said the war in Afghanistan was going to be long. Enhancing the Afghan forces’ capacity to stabilise their country and bring the Taliban to negotiating table would take time, he indicated.

“Our objective is in Afghanistan to ensure that we have a stable government that is no longer a safe haven and we have to attain that,” he said, warning an abrupt pullout, which would help terrorists return that country.

Gen. Pavel said NATO was also contributing to the fight against terrorism through training of local forces and defence capacity building to help allies better face the threat at home. He saw some merit for NATO becoming a member of that Coalition against ISIS.

Scaparrotti said Afghan security forces were faced with a challenging security environment, as they continued to be tested. “It is unquestionable that a stable Afghanistan is in everybody’s interest, and not just for regional stability. NATO will continue to support all initiatives which will help achieve this objective.” (PAN)