Addressing a news conference in Brussels ahead of the meetings of NATO Defense Ministers, Stoltenberg said the alliance would boost its presence “to help the Afghans break the stalemate, to send a clear message to Taliban to the insurgents that they will not win on the battleground”.
“At least twenty-eight Allies and partners are increasing their troop contributions to our training mission in Afghanistan,” he said. “We are aiming to have close to 16,000 personnel there this year. Up from around 13,000 last year.”
“This is a clear sign of our continued commitment to Afghanistan’s security,” he added.
However, Stoltenberg insisted there would be no return to combat operations.
“We are focusing on training the Afghan special operations forces, which have proven so key in the fight against the insurgents,” he said.
This comes as U.S. President Donald Trump announced his new Afghanistan strategy in August, reversing his previous position advocating U.S. withdrawal after military leaders convinced him that pulling out of America’s longest war would be worse than remaining.