North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to decide on increased Afghan deployment in one month

Governance & Politics
Governance & Politics

17 September, 2017

The immediate surge was a short-term solution, requested by battlefield commanders, but the Pentagon is still assessing how US troops will be deployed in the country in 2018, according to a USA official in Afghanistan.

"Albania is about to send more troops in response to the requirement of U.S. President Donald Trump for a new strategy on Afghanistan", Albania's newly appointed Defense Minister Olta Xhacka told visiting Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Petr Pavel late Friday.

The delay is the byproduct of the USA commander's vision for the war and the alliance's ability to provide the troops required to make it a reality, according to a US official who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing deliberations.

Defence chiefs from 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members recognised the need to fill the current troop shortfalls, General Petr Pavel was quoted as saying by AFP after a meeting of the Military Committee in Tirana.

Even though President Donald Trump announced his strategy for the war in Afghanistan in August, the Pentagon and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are still trying to map their way forward in the almost 16-year-old conflict, according to US officials.

The meeting comes months after Pentagon chief Jim Mattis told North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies they must finish the job in Afghanistan or risk allowing the insurgency to bloom.

A firm answer to the American call could come next month when the committee reconvenes, said NATO Supreme Allied Commander US General Curtis Scaparrotti.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation says "more than 15" countries have pledged additional support, but has yet to give details on extra troop numbers.

"What we would like North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to provide: "TAA actually, that's train, advise and assist", Scaparrotti said, adding, "(There's an) effect on the morale of the Afghan troops when it's their own airforce support. US officials, however, have repeatedly said that enough troops will deploy to Afghanistan in the coming months to bring the total number of USA troops in the country to around 14,000. US President Donald Trump has allowed the deployment of another 4,000 US troops in Afghanistan while he has repeatedly urged other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to contribute more.

He did not specify how many soldiers would be sent but officials have said the additional troops could number some 4,000, on top of 11,000 already on the ground. The coalition transferred security responsibilities to the Afghan forces in 2014 in a bid to end its long-standing mission there although some 13,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation soldiers, majority from the United States, are still stationed in Afghanistan.

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