BISHKEK (TCA) — Fifteen countries participating in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan have expressed their willingness to increase the amount of troops in the country, while commitments from other nations are pending, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said before a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels on June 29, Sputnik news agency reported.
“Today I can confirm that we will increase our presence in Afghanistan. Fifteen nations have already pledged additional contributions to the Resolute Support mission. And I look forward to further announcements from other nations,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
On June 28, Stoltenberg said that NATO was not planning to resume combat operations in Afghanistan, but was determined to enhance training and assisting Afghan forces.
At the meeting in Brussels on June 29, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reportedly pressed NATO allies and nonmember coalition partners in closed-door meetings to provide more personnel to help train the Afghan armed forces, RFE/RL reported.
Since drawing down from a peak of more than 130,000 NATO troops in 2011, current troop levels are at about 13,500 in what is known as the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, of which half are from the United States.
U.S. media reported that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is weighing sending another 3,000 to 5,000 troops to Afghanistan in order to break what Mattis has called a “stalemate” between Afghan government forces and the Taliban.