Despite fatigue, NATO commits to fund
Afghan forces to 2020
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[July 09, 2016]
By Robin Emmott and Yeganeh Torbati
WARSAW (Reuters) - NATO allies have
promised the United States they will help fund Afghan security forces to
the tune of around $1 billion annually over the next three years despite
public fatigue in Western countries about their involvement in the
NATO, which is holding a two-day summit in the Polish capital Warsaw,
has been present in Afghanistan since 2003 and has invested tens of
billions of dollars in trying to stabilize the country.
A worsening security situation and a resurgent Taliban have forced the
allies to reverse plans to sharply reduce their troops levels, though
there is little Western appetite for a much prolonged involvement in
"One of the great achievements of this meeting is that we now have in
place the $1 billion in non-U.S. commitments," NATO Secretary-General
Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference on Saturday, the second day of
the Warsaw summit.
He hinted there were still some pledges due to come in, adding, "We are
very close (to the target) and I'm certain that we will reach that
The United States has been keen to secure the target of a billion
dollars annually to support more than 350,000 Afghan security forces as
it draws down its own military presence in the country.
The Pentagon has budgeted $3.45 billion in annual U.S. funds to pay for
the Afghan forces, with the Afghan government providing an additional
sum of around $420 million, for a total yearly budget of nearly $5
U.S. President Barack Obama announced this week that the United States
was shelving its plans to cut the U.S. force in Afghanistan nearly in
half by the end of 2016, opting instead to keep 8,400 troops there till
the close of his presidency next January. That still implies a
[to top of second column]
President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Afghanistan's President
Ashraf Ghani at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016.
There are currently about 13,000 U.S. and international troops in
Afghanistan, with Germany, Turkey and Italy as the biggest non-U.S
contributors. Their role is to train the Afghan forces.
Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, said it was too
early to say what troop levels the NATO allies would maintain in
2017 and said those decisions would be made in the autumn.
"We are committed (to Afghanistan) and we are ready to stay," he
(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Gareth
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