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Agence France Presse

NATO to Commit Extra Troops to Afghanistan


STRASBOURG - The White House said Saturday its NATO allies would send up to 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan, in response to President Barack Obama's call for a greater alliance role.

Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs said the number would include 3,000 soldiers on short-term postings to provide security for the election later this year, including 900 from Britain, 600 from Germany and 600 from Spain.

Obama praised NATO for the extra troops, singling out commitments from France and Germany as proof of their "seriousness of purpose."

The White House said a further 1,400 to 2,000 soldiers would also be made available in 70 units of 20 to 40 troops each to form embedded training teams for Afghan army units.

It also said the NATO summit in Strasbourg had agreed to establish an alliance mission to provide better training for the Afghan army and police force.

Several nations would contribute more than 300 new para-military trainers and mentors for the struggling Afghan police service, the White House said in a fact sheet.

The alliance, meeting in its 60th anniversary summit, also agreed to expand a fund to sustain the Afghan army and to make a downpayment of more than 100 million dollars (74 million euros).

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