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Nato to increase troop presence in Afghanistan by 3,000

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg’s announcement came hours after Islamic State militants struck a television news channel in Kabul and killed two people.

world Updated: Nov 07, 2017 18:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nato,secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg,Afghanistan
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference in Brussels on November 7, 2017.(AFP)

Nato on Tuesday said it will increase the number of troops for its training mission in Afghanistan by 3,000 personnel, hours after Islamic State militants struck a television news channel in Kabul and killed two people.

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary-general, told a news conference in Brussels on the eve of the two-day North Atlantic Council meet: “We have decided to increase the number of troops ... to help the Afghans break the stalemate.”

Condemning the attack on Shamshad TV station, he said the alliance and its allies would send more troops for the training mission to tackle the insurgent threat. The revised number of troops will now be at 16,000 — half of them from the US. The current number of troops is around 13,000.

Stoltenberg stressed the soldiers would not have combat roles but would be part of Nato’s train, advise and assist mission called Resolute Support. He also said Nato would continue to provide financial and technical support to the Afghan national security forces.

He reiterated that Nato is continuing to raise the issue of Pakistan providing safe havens to terror groups on its soil. “The issue of safe havens in Pakistan will continue to be raised as no country should provide havens to insurgents,” he said.

US Army Gen John Nicholson, the commander of the Resolute Support mission and of American forces in Afghanistan, called for more troops in February, saying that a few thousand more troops would make a difference in weakening the Taliban and other Islamist militants.

Under a new strategy announced by US President Donald Trump, defence secretary Jim Mattis said in September that more than 3,000 additional American troops will be deployed to Afghanistan.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 17:14 IST