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Foreign Troops In Afghanistan To Increase To 16,000: NATO Chief

Stoltenberg condemned the attack on Shamshad TV station and said it was yet another example of attacks on civilians.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said that NATO and its allies will be sending in more troops to Afghanistan to tackle what he described as the threats of the Taliban and other insurgents.

According to him, the new level will be around 16,000 with the focus on training.

Speaking ahead of the defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Stoltenberg said: "Many NATO Allies and partners will send more troops to support Afghanistan."

This came just a few hours after insurgents, reportedly associated to Daesh, launched a coordinated attack on Afghanistan's Shamshad TV station, killing at least two people and wounding 20 staff members.

Stoltenberg strongly condemned attack on Shamshad TV and said it was yet another example of attacks on civilians - "which is unacceptable".

He said NATO and its partners will review the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan together.

Stoltenberg said: "The last few weeks have been tough in Afghanistan, with a number of brutal and senseless attacks. Such as today's attack on Shamshad TV.

"But at the same time, the Afghan Security Forces have shown bravery, determination and increasing capability. And the Afghan people continue to demonstrate a remarkable resilience and hope for peace.

"Around 13,000 troops from 39 different countries currently serve in our Resolute Support Mission. The United States is already increasing its commitment as part of the new South Asia Strategy. And many other Allies and partners will also send more troops in the months to come," Stoltenberg said.

He reiterated that the stalemate needs to be broken and that the Taliban must know they cannot win on the battlefield.

When asked about Afghanistan-Pakistan tensions, Stoltenberg said that NATO has regular dialogue with Pakistan on certain issues including the sanctuaries that the insurgent groups have in that country.

"Issue of safe havens in Pakistan will continue to be raised as no country should provide havens to insurgents," he said, referring to the terror hideouts and safe havens in Pakistan.

Stoltenberg said the alliance will continue its financial and technical support of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), adding that the alliance was already contributing $1 billion annually to the conventional forces in the war-torn country.

Meetings of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Defence Ministers will be held at NATO Headquarters on Wednesday 08 and Thursday 09 November.

The meetings will be chaired by Stoltenberg and Afghanistan's situation will be a focal point of discussion.

This comes as Afghanistan continues to grapple with a growing Taliban and Daesh insurgency across the nation - with the number of civilian casualties still on the rise.

[Source: By Syed Zabiullah Langari, Tolo News, Kabul, 07Nov17]

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