NATO has welcomed President Donald Trump's announcement that he will send more troops to Afghanistan. In a statement, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "NATO remains fully committed to Afghanistan and I am looking forward to discussing the way ahead with (Defense) Secretary (James) Mattis and our Allies and international partners."
NATO has 12,000 troops in Afghanistan, and 15 countries have pledged more, Stoltenberg said. Currently, there are approximately 8,400 American troops in-country. Additionally, there are about 25,000 contractors. The United Kingdom was also satisfied by Trump's commitment. British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said that the news was "very welcome." He said: "In my call with Secretary Mattis yesterday we agreed that despite the challenges, we have to stay the course in Afghanistan to help build up its fragile democracy and reduce the terrorist threat to the West." Even Germany, which Trump has criticized in the past over its level of defense spending, welcomed the announcement. "Our continued commitment is necessary on the path to stabilizing the country," a government spokeswoman said.
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Earlier this year, NATO leaders pledged more military personnel but did not commit to a specific number. Trump has not said how many American troops will be sent to reinforce the current number in-country.
Despite the presence of American and NATO forces since the U.S.-led invasion of nearly 16 years ago -- America's longest war -- Afghanistan is still beset by Taliban terrorists and a weak central government. While admitting that he once wanted to conduct a unilteral pull-out from the Central Asian nation, Trump said last night that while both he and the American people are "weary of war without victory", a hasty withdrawal would only provide fertile ground for Taliban and the Islamic State. Trump did not give a deadline for success in his speech on Monday. However, he promised: "Our troops will fight to win".
There are reports that Trump has approved plans to send in approximately 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
Trump did not provide goalposts that would designate an end to the war. The 2001 invasion, he admitted, required an "extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure."
"We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troops and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will," Trump said.