US General complains of NATO troops short fall in Afghanistan

US General complains of NATO troops short fall in Afghanistan
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NATO forces in Afghanistan said Thursday that the coalition had a shortfall of a "few thousands" of troops in the country." class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm" style="margin:0.8em 0px 0px;color:rgb(38,40,42);font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)">Washington (AFP) - The commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan said Thursday that the coalition had a shortfall of a "few thousands" of troops in the country.

NATO now has about 13,300 troops in the country, about half of them from the United States." class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm" style="margin:0.8em 0px 0px;color:rgb(38,40,42);font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)"> General John Nicholson was testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the force training and advising Afghan troops in the fight against the Taliban. NATO now has about 13,300 troops in the country, about half of them from the United States.

NATO defense ministers next week in Brussels, he said." class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm" style="margin:0.8em 0px 0px;color:rgb(38,40,42);font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)">Nicholson said he had raised the shortfall with his superiors in the military, including with Defense Secretary James Mattis, and that the issue will also be on the agenda at a meeting of NATO defense ministers next week in Brussels, he said.

NATO troops stopped leading patrols and stepped into an advisory and support role at the end of 2014." class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm" style="margin:0.8em 0px 0px;color:rgb(38,40,42);font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)">US-led NATO troops stopped leading patrols and stepped into an advisory and support role at the end of 2014.

But Afghan army and police forces face continual assaults from a well-funded and well-armed Taliban, with casualties in their ranks up 35 percent last year compared to 2015, according to a US government report.

Afghanistan that could undermine US-backed troops and push the country deeper into turmoil." class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm" style="margin:0.8em 0px 0px;color:rgb(38,40,42);font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)">Allegations over Russia and Iran's deepening ties with the Taliban have ignited concerns of a renewed "Great Game" of proxy warfare in Afghanistan that could undermine US-backed troops and push the country deeper into turmoil.

Nicholson reiterated those concerns before the Senate committee.

"I do remain concerned about the influence of certain external actors particularly Russia, Pakistan and Iran," he said.

Afghanistan ."" class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm" style="margin:0.8em 0px 0px;color:rgb(38,40,42);font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)">This influence, he said, continues "to legitimize and support the Taliban and undermine the Afghan effort to create a stable Afghanistan ."

Afghanistan ."" class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm" style="margin:0.8em 0px 0px;color:rgb(38,40,42);font-family:'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;font-size:15px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255)">

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