NATO to Send 3,000 More Troops to Afghanistan

NATO will send more than 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to help train Afghan forces, NATO Secretary Gen. Jens Stoltenberg announced on Tuesday. Here's Stoltenberg talks with US and Polish troops at Train, Advis, Assist Command East at Tactical Base Gamberi. NATO photo.

NATO will send more than 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in addition to an increase announced by the US military earlier this year to counter increased momentum by the Taliban in the long-running war.

NATO agreed to send the additional advisers “to help the Afghans break the stalemate, to send a message to the Taliban, to the insurgents that they will not win on the battleground,” NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday in advance of the NATO defense ministers meeting that began Wednesday. The deployment will begin in 2018.

With the increased presence NATO will have about 16,000, focused on training Afghan Special Operations Forces, Stoltenberg said. Non-US NATO allies have also promised $1 billion per year to support the Afghan National Army and police.

“The security situation remains volatile. But Afghan forces are making progress and are denying the Taliban their strategic goals,” Stoltenberg said during a Wednesday press conference. “The United States is already deploying more troops, and many other allies and partners are making additional commitments.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, speaking en route to the meetings in Brussels, said he has heard feedback from a “number of nations” that they were going to increase their commitment based on the US decision to deploy more troops. Some countries had indicated plans to provide additional support, but were waiting on governmental approval, he said.