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12,000 NATO troops to stay in Afghanistan through next year

12,000 NATO troops to stay in Afghanistan through next year

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Dec 02, 2015 - 08:34

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Agreeing to fund Afghan forces over the next five years, NATOinfo-icon decided on Tuesday to keep 12,000 troops in Afghanistaninfo-icon through 2016.

At the end of a two-day meeting of foreign ministers from NATO states in Brussels, the alliance secretary-general praised Afghan troops’ continued steady progress.

However, capability gaps and challenges for the nascent security personnel persisted, Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference at the NATO headquarters.

In a move to keep the war-torn country from again becoming a terrorist safe haven, allies approved continuing the Resolute Support mission and funding Afghan forces through 2020.

In October, US President Barack Obama gave the greenlight to a plan for keeping a force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year.

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani welcomed NATO’s pledge of sustained support to Afghan forces. “Despite the challenges we face, Afghanistan has done much better than expected,” he claimed.

Stoltenberg, characterising the meeting as substantive, said several allies had pledged new funding for Afghanistan. Decisions on funding are expected at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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