December 2nd, 2009
12:35 PM ET
8 months ago

NATO to commit at least 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan

London, England (CNN)–The non-U.S. members of NATO intend to commit at least 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan along with the American buildup just announced, the alliance's top civilian leader said Wednesday.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the 5,000 figure is "based on what we know now," adding, "I would expect a few thousand on top of that."

"Based on my talks with a big number of political leaders, I feel confident that we will see significant increases in the troop contributions," Rasmussen said on CNN's "Amanpour" program.

The additional units would bring NATO's contribution to the Afghan war to about 47,000 troops. That figure comes on top of the nearly 100,000 Americans expected to be in the fight once the additional deployments U.S. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday night are in place.


"The important thing here is that allies and partners have responded very positively to the speech made by President Obama," Rasmussen said. He said the first pledges could be announced at a conference of NATO foreign ministers Thursday and Friday in Brussels, Belgium, the seat of the alliance.

"There is a broad consensus in the alliance that we must stand together," Rasmussen said. "We are in this together. We will support the United States. It is an alliance mission."

Obama announced Tuesday night that he will send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan while setting a goal of starting to bring force home by the summer of 2011. The new strategy is designed to eliminate al Qaeda in Afghanistan and help the Afghan government defeat the Taliban insurgency, while bolstering neighboring Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts.

In addition to the 28 NATO allies, 15 non-NATO members have contributed troops to the U.S.-led coalition. The largest contribution from those countries is from Australia, with 1,200 troops.

Rasmussen said the allies will stay in Afghanistan "as long as it takes to finish our job - but, obviously, it's not forever."

"The way forward is to hand over responsibility to the Afghans, province by province, as their own capacity develops," he said. The additional troops being dispatched "will build the bridge to the transition," he added.


Filed under: Afghanistan • NATO
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    Now we talking. America just like in WWII couldn't do it alone. They came into the war late and gave it just enough power to tumble Germany and Japan but not without allies. You just can't get it done. Thanks to you Obama I will admit I have been critical but I'll have to give it to you maybe you are the leader this country needs. Time will tell as long as you don't fall to the idoacys of the past leaders.

    December 2, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Brian

    Just another example of how this is not like Vietnam. We've got to finish cleaning that country up, and it's clear the rest of the world agrees.

    December 2, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I guess those of you who thought that our President didn't need to apologize to those we had wronged would rather have us go at it alone in this war effort. Obama's dead-on diplomatic efforts abroad are now bearing fruits that benefit US. This man has a heightened sense of discernment that we are not accustomed to. Diplomacy is not just the ability to bomb countries into kingdom come, but more importatnly to be able to form a connection and find commonalities in order to forge allegiances with those that can come to our aid when called upon. Had the previous administration placed the call for help it would've gone unheeded and unanswered. Thank you President Obama.

    December 2, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. B

    You can put another 50K troops and another Trillion dollars, that we don’t have, and the result will be the same! This country is in great need for resources here and now.

    It is interesting to hear the Republicans talk about Cost concerns on healthcare and NO concerns at all talking about HUGE WAR costs to continue this madness....

    It is a battle of ideology that will not end in two years or two decades.

    December 2, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    By the way, I listened to the President's speech in front of the people who will be fighting this war for us, AND I read the transcript. I found it extremely classy and appropriate that he delivered the speech where he did. I AM SO INCREDIBLY PROUD OF OUR PRESIDENT! Feel free to wipe the American first, Democrat second drool off my face!!!

    December 2, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. The Other Michael in Houston

    You can add 5 million more troops and it will still be a lost cause. You'd think that one of you guys were smart enough to actually open up a history book and see all of the countries who have went into Afghanistan and failed miserably. What makes you think it will be any different now? No one, and I mean no one will be able to change the mind set of the Afghan people. They don't want to be part of the Western world, they don't want to change. Those Afghans who hate their society have left already. Go smoke the Taliban and get out. It will be business as usual, we are going to get a bunch of troops killed, the American public outcry will be big, people will start losing re-elections and we will cut our loses and pull out like everyone else has.

    December 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. african american

    why not more? Why do we have to carry all the burdin ourself.

    December 2, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. SocialismBad

    Is NATO going to send FIGHTING TROOPS or more road builders?! The US, Brits, Canadians and Australians are doing all the fighting while the rest of the NATO troops aren't really involved in the fighting. It seems the NATO alliance is a cover for some who don't want to fight and are quite content watching the USA take the vast majority of the casualties and deaths.

    December 2, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Barbara - a Canadian Perspective

    This from Canada. The U.S. is not the only country to have lost precious lives in Afghanistan. Canadians have been there since the beginning, stayed when your former President decided to take off to fight another war of dubious merit, and have been there since. We mourn our dead and yours as well.

    I have a grandson in the Canadian Military who has served in Afghanistan. My heart wants to keep him safely home. I am, though, in full agreement with President Obama to put a surge on, and force the Afghanistani government to put up or shut up, by giving them a goal to work toward.

    I fully appreciate the time he took to fully analyze all scenarios, and the courage of his decision, in spite of both political parties displeasure.

    Armchair Generals do not add to the mission!

    God bless our troops (all countries in NATO). and God bless the President of the United States. (with the lack of respect he receives from those he works tirelessly for, he deserves all our prayers).

    December 2, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    Allies and partners have responded very positively to the Obama speech. It is refreshing to see that the right wingnuts are still wrong on almost everything.

    December 2, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    5000 is better than 0000........ And this will STILL allow the haters to HATE!!!

    President Obama – there are more people BEHIND you than on TOP of you so don't worry about those who were once behind you – THEY ARE QUITTERS and LOSERS!!

    SUPPORT OUR TROOPS and leave the BICKERING BEHIND!!!

    December 2, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Jeff of Peoria

    MAYBE JUST MAYBE Obama can do what Bush never really could. I'm not a big fan, in fact I don't care for him at all HOWEVER, I don't want him to fail either. He fails we all fail. Some people just don't understand that on either side of the political ile.

    A Dem waits for the Repub to fail and vise versa.

    December 2, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Helen

    16.67% of what our President has committed to.

    This is not a good sign people.

    December 2, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Bluebonnet

    Its a shame that the commander-in-chief told more than he should have about the plan. Let's just tell the enemy that we're pulling out in 3 years so they can sit back and wait for us to rebuilding, reteach, re-everything and leave. THEN they come back and tear it up! Way to go Obama! And did anyone catch foot-in-mouth Matthews stating Obama was in the 'enemy's camp" giving his big speach? The fool Matthews – I honestly don't know how that man keeps a job. If he worked anywhere other than the almost defunct MSNBC, he surely wouldn't. How dare he talk of our military officers-in-training like that – what an absolute moron and just because they, being the officers they are trained to be, didn't GUSH over Obama like he does when he has that tingle running down his leg!

    December 2, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. JA/TN

    their lies my problem with this war (Afgan) on terrorism, it is supposedly a global problem where is global committment, i don't buy this 30,000 American soldiers vs other countries sending a few thousand, somebody is being hoodwinked

    December 2, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |