NATO calls for equal civilian surge

KRAKOW, Poland, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- NATO leaders applauded the recent U.S. decision to deploy 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan but called for an equivalent surge in civilian forces.

NATO defense ministers held an informal policy meeting in Krakow, Poland, on Thursday and resumed talks Friday on NATO priorities ahead of the NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government taking place in April in Germany and France.


The defense ministers welcomed the follow-up on a campaign promise made by President Barack Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan to counter the growing Taliban insurgency along the country's rugged border with Pakistan.

While the ministers applauded the announcement, they called on the international community to commit to an equal surge in the numbers of civilian forces, saying that more needs to be done to strengthen the diplomatic and development effort, NATO reported.

The NATO leaders also called on the Afghan government to end the widespread corruption and for increased measures to "prevent civilian casualties caused by (International Security Assistance Force) forces," according to a news release. The defense ministers said a regional approach was needed, the release added.


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