NATO falls short in Afghanistan

April 21, 2008 at 11:10 AM
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BRUSSELS, April 21 (UPI) -- Bush administration efforts to persuade NATO members to send more troops to Afghanistan fell far short of the total needed, NATO leaders say.

The administration secured pledges from six NATO allies for around 2,000 troops, prompting national security adviser Stephen Hadley to tell NATO leaders in Bucharest at an early April summit that "help is on the way."

NATO commanders, however, said they needed at least 7,000 troops.

The new commitments come mostly in the form of support personnel, such as advisers, and not combat troops, USA Today said Monday.

Seth Jones, a expert on Afghanistan with the Rand Corp, called the pledges "window dressing," adding, "In very stark terms, what the NATO summit showed is that the United States is not going to be able to count on its NATO allies to fill the gap in Afghanistan."

The new commitments are a 4 percent increase in the total troop numbers in Afghanistan, though the combined NATO contingent is still 4,500 less than the total number of U.S forces deployed there.

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