Friday, September 22, 2023
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NATO Pledges 7,000 Troops

WASHINGTON (CN) - NATO pledged Friday to send 7,000 more forces to Afghanistan, just days after President Barack Obama said he would send another 30,000 troops. But the international contribution, hailed as a powerful token of support, could be worth less than its face value.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced at a meeting in Brussels, Belgium that 25 nations will contribute troops to the effort in Afghanistan. So far, Great Britain has said it will donate 500 additional units, with Poland sending 1,000, and Italy contributing 600. South Korea is also sending 400.

But NATO has not made clear how it will collect all the troops necessary to fulfill its pledge, which countries would contribute, or when the units would be deployed.

Some members, like Canada and the Netherlands, still plan on reducing their troop contributions, and there have been no new developments from France or Germany, which had said they will not send additional forces. The two have been asked for 3,500 forces.

The 7,000 extra forces include 1,500 NATO troops already stationed in Afghanistan for security during the presidential elections there. But instead of leaving as planned, the troops will remain put.

Also, an unspecified amount will not be authorized to fight, per the request of their home countries, like the 1,750 Turkish troops there.

The United States nonetheless hailed the pledge as a significant commitment, and NATO portrayed its announcement as a token of strong support for the mission in Afghanistan.

The international pledge comes three days after Obama said he would send 30,000 additional troops, which are scheduled to begin deployment in two to three weeks, growing the total U.S. force in Afghanistan to about 100,000 troops.

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