NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg today confirmed that the alliance has agreed at a ministerial-level meeting on a plan to escalate military involvement in Afghanistan. The exact details of this are yet to be worked out, and it’s not clear which countries will actually commit troops to the buildup.
That could involve a substantial amount of wrangling with the US, as America’s own planned escalation has yet to be announced, and Defense Secretary James Mattis is heavily pushing NATO on the merits of continuing the already 16-year-old war into the future.
The basic outline agreed to would see up to 10,000 troops, between US and NATO nations, sent to Afghanistan, and puts the assumed US figure somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000. President Trump has delegated the decision on troop levels to Mattis, but he has yet to announce a decision.
British officials were the only ones really publicly supporting the escalation at the NATO meeting, though they didn’t make it clear how many troops they plan to contribute. It may be difficult to find enough member nations, this deep into the unpopular war, willing to throw more troops at the situation.