NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reported on Wednesday that the alliance is close to having its goal of 16,000 troops for Afghanistan, and said he is “absolutely confident” they’ll have enough by 2018.
After the US announced their own escalation of the Afghan War, they began to push NATO to commit more troops to the country. With many NATO nations having withdrawn from Afghanistan in recent years, they are not very interested in going back.
The 16,000 troops are to officially be on a “training mission,” though it’s not entirely clear that this will be the sum total of their activities. US forces are to be embedded in combat situations, for instance, though they are not included in the 16,000 NATO figure.
Facing mounting losses to the Taliban, the Afghan military is facing a constant rush to train up more troops for the war. This has been a problem throughout the 16 year conflict, with corruption and low pay meaning many Afghan troops don’t last long before fleeing.