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Search Tags: NATO
France has agreed to sell a sophisticated new weapon to Russia. As a result Pentagon officials are worried the Mistral class warship will improve Russia's ability to threaten Georgia and other Eastern European allies. A Pentagon spokesman says U.S. allies in Eastern Europe are nervous about it. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visits officials in France, a question looms. Why did the French do that considering they are a member of NATO and Russia is not.
Are there problems ahead for the Obama administration and Pakistan? If the current situation is any indication, there may be. The U.S. wants the Pakistanis to engage Afghan militants operating in Pakistan to assist the NATO war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan says it has its hands full with its own war. This is a serious problem, because the U.S. needs Pakistani cooperation on this in order to make its new strategy on the Afghan war to work.
State Hillary Clinton met with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and reassured him the commitment to Afghanistan is not open would not need to be open-ended. "The need for additional forces is urgent, but their presence will not be indefinite," she said, noting that Obama's timeline called for Afghans to begin taking over in July 2011. "At that time, we will begin to transfer authority and responsibility to Afghan security forces, removing combat forces from Afghanistan over time with the assurance that Afghanistan's future, and ours, is secure," Clinton said.
NATO is going to send 7000 more troops to Afghanistan to compliment the 30,000 President Barack Obama is adding to the force. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had received confirmed pledges for the extra troops, with the probability of more countries contributing to the total in the next few months. NATO still needs over 200 more police and military training teams to boost Afghan forces so they can eventually take over security responsibility and allow foreign forces to withdraw.
The President is expected to send 30-40 thousand more US troops to Afghanistan, but they will not be the only ones going there. NATO will probably be sending more troops as well --Maybe as many as 10,000. What will the international troops be doing? It largely depends on what strategy the US chooses. They're expected to have a significant impact on training Afghans in the civilian sector and law enforcement areas. Whatever role they play, it's very likely they'll be there for a number of years.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen says NATO is critically important Afghanistan. He says "what sometimes gets lost is there are 42 countries who are working in Afghanistan to try to get this right". Mullen adds a lot of international leaders are focused on that war "and where NATO is providing capability, NATO's got thousands of troops there as well."
Deciding what to do in Afghanistan will take awhile longer. Reuters is reporting the White House has put off consideration of sending more troops to Afghanistan while it assesses whether its war strategy can still work after a flawed election that cast doubt on the Kabul government's legitimacy, officials said on Tuesday. The Pentagon had initially expected the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Army General Stanley McChrystal, to make a request for more soldiers soon after delivering his confidential assessment on the war.
NATO and Russia have resolved a dispute which Moscow's envoy to the military alliance had said could affect prospects for increased cooperation on Afghanistan, Russian and NATO diplomats said on Thursday. Reuters reports the breakthrough would allow three documents on NATO-Russia cooperation to be signed on Friday at the first formal ministerial meeting between the two sides since ties were frozen after Russia's brief war with Georgia last year.
As of Wednesday, at least 46 international troops, including 24 Americans, had been killed in Afghanistan this month, according to statements by the U.S. military and the NATO command. That matches the tolls for the two previous deadliest months - June and August of 2008. There are about 57,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, and the number is expected to rise to at least 68,000 by the end of 2009.
U.S. Marines and Afghan troops launched their long-expected attack over the weekend on the biggest Taliban-held town in the south, seeking to re-establish government control and undermine support for the militants in their southern heartland. The attack on Marjah is the biggest joint Afghan-international offensive of the war and is the largest combat operation since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 U.S. more troops there last year to turn the tide of the war.