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AFP: NATO looks to seize momentum in Afghanistan conflict

AFP: NATO looks to seize momentum in Afghanistan conflict

9 November 2017 | 11:39 | FOCUS News Agency
Brussels. Defence ministers from the NATO alliance met Thursday in Brussels to review the next steps in the Afghanistan conflict and brainstorm ways to make gains in the 16-year-old war, AFP reported.
NATO this week announced it would be sending some 3,000 extra troops to Afghanistan, bringing the Western military footprint up to about 16,000 soldiers.
The additional troops, most of them American, will help train and advise local Afghan forces who have struggled to hold Taliban and Islamic State extremists at bay while suffering heavy casualties.
"Our allies and partners have committed to sending more troops," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.
"Today we will review progress and discuss what more needs to be done, to enhance Afghan combat capabilities in the fight against international terrorism, and to establish the environment to achieve Afghanistan’s ultimate objective of peace and reconciliation."
NATO leaders are optimistic that 2018 could see Afghan forces start to gain momentum against the Taliban, thanks to renewed training efforts, a growing air force and thousands of extra Afghan commandos.
Plus US President Donald Trump has given American forces greater leeway in how and when they can hit the Taliban, and Afghan forces are increasingly going on the offensive.
Immediately following the summit, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will host a separate meeting with partners from the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in the Middle East, where the jihadists continue to lose territory.
Mattis said coalition partners are looking to the United States for a clear plan about what follows the physical defeat of IS.
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