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NATO Chief: US Allies Pledge 5,000 More Troops to Fight in Afghanistan

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says NATO countries are throwing their support behind U.S. President Barack Obama's new Afghan strategy, and will send at least 5,000 more troops to fight insurgents in the war-torn country.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gives a joint press on the eve of the meeting Foreign Affairs NATO Council, 2 Dec 2009
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gives a joint press on the eve of the meeting Foreign Affairs NATO Council, 2 Dec 2009

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says NATO countries are throwing their support behind U.S. President Barack Obama's new Afghan strategy, and will send at least 5,000 more troops to fight insurgents in the war-torn country.

The NATO chief said Wednesday in Brussels that all NATO countries must do more in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida if they truly want to make Afghanistan stable. 

Rasmussen pledged that NATO and its allies will strive to transition into a role where the Afghan people can take control of securing their country.  But he said the word "transition" is not a code for an "exit strategy."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Mr. Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 troops is a "very difficult, but necessary strategy."

General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the clarity, commitment and resolve outlined in the president's address are critical toward eliminating terrorist safe havens that threaten regional and global security.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he "fully supports" Mr. Obama's new strategy.  He called the announcement "courageous" and said it gives "new momentum" to the international engagement in Afghanistan.

Mr. Sarkozy's reaction left open the possibility of sending additional French troops to Afghanistan, a move that the French defense minister deemed "unlikely" earlier this week.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said he and Mr. Obama spoke for about an hour about the strategy on Tuesday.
 

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