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NATO moves toward more troops for Afghan war

world Updated: Oct 23, 2009 20:43 IST

AP
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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday that NATO allies are moving toward sending more troops and civilian aid to Afghanistan.

Gates said he was "heartened" by allies' commitment to the 8-year-old war, even as the Obama administration mulls whether to order tens of thousands more US troops to the fight.

The Pentagon chief cited a long-term commitment by NATO partners to remain in Afghanistan until the conflict is successfully resolved.

At a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Bratislava, Gates said he did not seek specific promises of military assistance, and none was given. He described, however, "a renewed determination to see this through."

"There were a number of allies who indicated they were thinking about, or were moving toward, increasing either their military or their civilian contributions, or both," Gates said at a news conference. "And I found that very heartening."

He praised NATO nations for already doubling the number of troops they have sent to Afghanistan over the last 15 months. "People really have been stepping up to this," Gates said.

He also sought to assure allies that the United States will remain in the fight, despite the Obama administration's ongoing indecision over a war strategy. "We're not pulling out," Gates said.