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NATO to Keep 12,000 Troops in Afghanistan

NATO commanders await the start of the NATO Ministerial Meeting on the South, Partnerships, and Defense Capacity at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Dec. 1, 2015.

NATO says it will keep about 12,000 troops in Afghanistan for an extra year in 2016 to prevent the country from again becoming a safe haven for terrorists.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday the alliance will pledge "approximately 12,000 troops" as part of its Resolute Support Mission in the region. He said that figure is in line with the current NATO troop strength in Afghanistan.

Stoltenberg announced the pledge after alliance foreign ministers endorsed the decision.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks to fight the Taliban. NATO took over command of the operation in 2003, but the alliance ended combat operations in 2014, leaving the Resolute Support Mission in place.

Today, Taliban militants are still mounting attacks, while the Islamic State group is gaining a foothold in the country.