Top NATO commanders signal support for keeping troops in Afghanistan – WP

12:15, 19 May 2016
World
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The U.S. military's new top officer in the war in Afghanistan met with military chiefs from NATO nations Wednesday, offering in a closed-door meeting his assessment of a conflict that is nearly 15 years old, The Washington Post reports.

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Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr.'s presented his assessment behind closed doors to dozens of senior military officers, including Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Army Gen. Curtis "Mike" Scaparrotti, the new supreme allied commander of NATO. Nicholson did not appear at a news conference afterward, but Scaparrotti said that after hearing the war commander's plan, Scaparrotti is in favor of an approach that would remove additional forces only as conditions on the ground allow, according to The Washington Post.

Gen. Petr Pavel, a Czech officer who serves as chairman of the NATO military committee, said Wednesday that there is general acknowledgment among most NATO allies involved in Afghanistan that it would be wise to leave the "same amount of participation" there now because they believe the conditions are not yet met for us to withdraw." He called Afghan troops "essential to the stability of the Afghan state and a critical component in building the confidence of the Afghan people in their society."

Read alsoAzerbaijani Silk Way cargo plane crash in Afghanistan, seven killed, including UkrainiansThe NATO mission in Afghanistan, Operation Resolute Support, currently includes about 12,800 troops, including some 6,900 Americans, according to statistics released by the coalition. The majority of the other 2,900 U.S. troops are devoted to a separate but related mission, Freedom's Sentinel, that focuses heavily on counterterrorism.

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