Taliban returned to Afghanistan with Pak's help: Envoy

by Garry Watts May 13, 2017, 0:57
Taliban returned to Afghanistan with Pak's help: Envoy

Mrs May was speaking as she met Nato's secretary general Jens Stoltenberg at Downing Street, amid speculation the United Kingdom could be asked to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Mr Stoltenberg confirmed that troop levels in Afghanistan would be discussed at the Brussels summit on May 25, and noted that the United Kingdom had "led by example", including by keeping forces in Afghanistan for many years.

An upcoming summit of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries should consider what more other countries can do to support the military alliance, Prime Minister Theresa May has said. "We're open to that", Turnbull told the media.

The U.S. military ceded the lead role in combat operations to Afghan security forces in 2014 amid a troop drawdown under former President Barack Obama.

'We are certainly open to increasing our work there, but we've obviously got to look at the commitments of the ADF in other parts of the region and indeed in other parts of the world, ' he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Australia reportedly has 270 military personnel in the war-torn country, majority in Kabul, where they provide training, advice and assistance for Afghan security forces.

Faced with a resurgent Taliban, the Trump Administration is considering a ramp-up of the long-running war in Afghanistan.

Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Kabul, has said he needs about 3,000 more USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops to fill a gap in training and advising roles.

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Australian troops are expected to remain in Afghanistan for at least two more years.

The new strategy would seek about $23 billion a year for maintaining the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military presence in Afghanistan and for programmes for the social and economic uplift of the Afghan people.

At the White House briefing, Spicer not only said that President Trump wanted to win the war in Afghanistan but also explained how the president defined this victory: "Reducing, minimising and eliminating" the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan and across the globe. "The security responsibility was transferred to the Afghan security forces (in 2015), so why do we again need foreign troops to defend us?" asked Mohammad Umer Daudzai, head of the council's political committee.

Now there are over 13,000 foreign troops, including 8,400 Americans, in Afghanistan.

"It puts more responsibility on us and we should think about it".

Gen. Raymond Thomas of the U.S. Special Operations Command, however, had an assessment that differs from Stewart's, saying he believes, "We have an adequate number of my troops, special operations forces, on the ground".

Australian army trainers have been instructing Afghan soldiers as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission.

"We have now moved beyond the involvement in the direct fighting phase".

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