Thursday, June 29, 2017

‘What is the price of not fighting this war?’: Mattis makes his pitch to get more NATO troops in Afghanistan - washingtonpost

BRUSSELS — Nearly three years after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ended combat operations in Afghanistan, the 29-nation alliance will send troops once more into the country with hopes that the renewed surge will help the Afghan military beat back a resurgent Taliban.

Speaking ahead of a defense ministerial meeting here Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said thousands of troops have been requested, but he did not say how many would deploy.

With the Taliban in control of broad swaths of the country and the Afghan military locked in a primarily defensive war, it is unclear how a new infusion of NATO or U.S. forces could radically turn the tide of the conflict.

“Fifteen nations have already pledged additional contributions to Resolute Support Mission. And I look forward to further announcements from other nations,” Stoltenberg said, using the name of the NATO mission to Afghanistan.

Stoltenberg stressed that NATO’s renewed presence did not mean the beginning of another combat mission; instead, he said, the alliance will focus on building the Afghan special operation forces, air force and other military training institutions.

Stoltenberg’s remarks come as the United States weighs its own commitment in what has become its longest-running war. In recent weeks, President Trump delegated authorities to the Pentagon to set troop levels in the Afghanistan, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has pledged to present a strategy to Congress by mid-July.  - Read More


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