2 000 more Nato troops for Afghans

2010-09-06 14:06

Brussels - Nato might send 2 000 extra troops to Afghanistan, mainly to train Afghan security forces, following a request from war commander David Petraeus, a Nato official said on Monday.

The mission, which would include 750 trainers for Afghan forces, is in addition to the troop surge strategy, said the official, who requested anonymity.

"There is now a discussion underway for additional resources, principally trainers, that could be sent to Afghanistan, to bolster the mission," he said.

The US general's request was relayed to the transatlantic alliance's 28 members and it is up to individual governments to decide on whether to make contributions, the official said.

"That discussion will play out over the coming weeks and months and will be led by Nato's military authorities," he said, adding that a CNN television report that the troops could leave in the coming weeks was "not realistic".

Must get Afghan troops ready

The war is nearing the end of its ninth year, with international troops at almost full strength of 150 000, from the United States and Nato.

The deployments include 30 000 US troops ordered up by President Barack Obama last December as part of a new counter-insurgency strategy aimed at speeding an end to the war.

Getting Afghan security forces trained so they can take over security responsibilities is a paramount condition for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the war-scarred nation.

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who will meet Obama at the White House on Tuesday, said last week he hoped that foreign troops can begin to gradually hand security responsibilities to Afghan forces next year.