US to ask NATO allies for some 1,000 more troops for Afghanistan
The United States is to ask NATO allies to contribute around 1,000 extra troops to help in the battle against the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, the new U.S. ambassador to the alliance said on Oct. 5.
Kay Bailey Hutchison said the forces would add to the roughly 3,000 U.S. troops who are already on their way to Afghanistan under President Donald Trump’s new strategy against the militants.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, meanwhile, has said that he believes most foreign troops will be able to leave “within four years,” even as he praised U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent plan to keep forces in the country indefinitely.
Most U.S. and coalition troops withdrew at the end of 2014, after which Afghan troops struggled to contain resurgent Taliban militants and a nascent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) presence.
Foreign troops have since returned to providing more support for Afghan forces and in August Trump announced a plan that will send thousands of additional U.S. and allied troops to advise and assist the Afghans, including by providing more air strikes.
“Within four years, we think our security forces would be able to do the constitutional thing, which is the claim of legitimate monopoly of power,” Ghani told the BBC in response to a question about when he thinks NATO troops can withdraw.
He nevertheless praised Trump’s decision to base U.S. troop levels on “conditions on the ground and not arbitrary timetables”.