NATO Ministers Expected to Pledge Troops

Thursday, December 03, 2009

NATO members are expected to pledge extra troops for Afghanistan during a two day meeting starting today.

The NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has said allies will contribute at least five-thousand more troops, on top of the thirty thousand the US is planning to send next year, according to a report from the BBC.

The Associated Press reports that America's NATO allies have been strongly supportive of the administration's plans for the war in Afghanistan despite its unpopularity in Europe, President Obama's envoy said today.

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said, "We have been very gratified by the strong support of our European allies for President Obama's policy." Holbrooke spoke before the meeting of NATO foreign ministers that opens later today. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will brief the ministers on Friday.

Obama's plan calls for the dispatch of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, but includes assurances that some of them will begin withdrawing in July 2011.

Meanwhile, U.S. service members in Afghanistan have been applauding the president's decision to send more troops. But congressional lawmakers have been more skeptical. Administration officials have been making their case before Congress in a series of hearings that continue Thursday.

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