george little

Nato may station up to 12,000 troops in post-2014 Afghanistan

by Dawn.com  |  published on February 25, 2013

Nato may station up to 12,000 troops in Afghanistan to train and assist Kabul’s forces after its combat mission against the Taliban ends there in 2014, US officials said Friday.

US Pentagon spokesman George Little said Nato was considering deployment of between 8,000 and 12,000 troops, including any US contribution, but no final decision has yet been made.

Reports of a US presence of 8,000 to 12,000 troops “are not correct,” he said.

President Barack Obama “is still reviewing options and has not made a decision about the size of a possible US presence after 2014,” he said, adding that discussions will now continue with Nato allies and Afghanistan.

US press reports suggest Washington wants a US troop figure well below 10,000.

The issue of Nato’s post-2014 mission in Afghanistan is sensitive, with the allies anxious to ensure that the efforts in blood and money of more than 12 difficult years are maintained by a strong Afghan army.

However, the war has grown increasingly unpopular and some countries are reluctant to make a large commitment given the risks still posed by the Taliban.

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