Pentagon intelligence chief warns of Afghan gains being lost

Pentagon intelligence chief warns of Afghan gains being lost

Pentagon intelligence chief warns of Afghan gains being lost

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will continue its support for the global coalition fighting Daesh but will not engage in combat operations in Syria or Iraq, the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

"We have been asked to consider sending additional resources, and we are actively considering that".

"We have a lot invested in that Afghan operation so I imagine the Turnbull government would be looking at [the request] pretty favourably", he said.

In April, the Prime Minister said Australia would have a military presence in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, describing the training of local forces as a "long-term commitment".

Earlier this week, after a lengthy review, top Trump administration advisers were reported to be urging an ambitious new military role in Afghanistan, led by the Pentagon, with at least 3,000 troops added to the current 8,400, to halt the country's deteriorating security and push the Taliban back to the negotiating table.

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The United States has written to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries about the 13,000-strong presence in Afghanistan and "future contributions" will be considered at a meeting in Brussels later this month, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official told the Press Association.

In February the USA commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, told a congressional hearing he needed several thousand more worldwide troops to break a stalemate with the Taliban.

"Endemic state weaknesses, the government's political fragility, deficiencies of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), Taliban persistence, and regional interference will remain key impediments to improvement", he said.

Outgoing Secretary of Defence Dennis Richardson said on Friday that a long-term military presence in Afghanistan was "sensible" and necessary.

As the administration of President Donald Trump weighs sending more troops to Afghanistan, the 16-year war grinds on in bloody stalemate.

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The ADF ended combat operations there in 2014 after first arriving in 2001 to stop it being used as a safe haven for terrorists and stabilise the country.

Asked if British troops work against stability in Afghanistan, he replied: "I think British troops have suffered a great deal in Afghanistan and I've talked to many former soldiers who have been through very bad, awful situations there and they want to see a secure political solution in Afghanistan and of course in neighbouring areas of Pakistan".

Germany, a member of the military alliance, has already refused to increase its troops or expand its military's role in Afghanistan.

"This time we are directly enabling the Afghan army, so we're trying to make that army more powerful, so it's a different thrust than what we did in the past", Spoehr told VOA.

Thomas Spoehr, director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for National Defense, said he expects the new administration's policy will rely on an increase in worldwide forces to focus on long-term goals.

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