European and other U.S. allies will contribute more than 5,000 more troops to the international force in Afghanistan, NATO's chief said Wednesday, declaring that "this is not just America's war."
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke just hours after President Barack Obama announced the new deployment of 30,000 fresh U.S. troops to Afghanistan and called for additional commitments from America's NATO allies.
Reacting to his call, a Polish official said the government will likely send 600 reinforcements to beef up its existing 2,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan.
"In 2010, the non-U.S. members of this mission will send at least 5,000 more soldiers to this operation, and probably a few thousand more," Fogh Rasmussen told reporters, The Associated Press reports.
it was also reported, Mr Rasmussen said Nato troops would remain there "as long as it takes".
"What is happening in Afghanistan is a clear and present danger to our citizens," he said. "Instability in Afghanistan means insecurity for all of us."
Earlier on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama announced a surge in the number of US troops and promised to "seize the initiative" in the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the country.
He said a pullout would begin in 19 months time, in July 2011, and suggested that the mission in Afghanistan would test the credibility of Nato.
In response, Mr Rasmussen said that the organisation must "now demonstrate that multilateralism produces results", BBC News reports.
Meanwhile, McChrystal reportedly annoyed the White House this year when he spoke in London about a stepped-up, long-term military commitment, while Obama's Afghan strategy review was still underway. He is also said to have differed sharply with Karl Eikenberry, the US ambassador in Kabul, over the scale of troop reinforcements.
Asked whether he fully backed Obama's revamped approach, McChrystal said he was "absolutely supportive of the time line" and denied the nature of the mission had been changed by Obama's speech at West Point. The president had brought new clarity to the task, increased capability, and placed a welcome emphasis on competence, both American and Afghan.
"The president has provided me with a clear military mission and the resources to accomplish the task … The coalition is encouraged by President Obama's commitment."
But, McChrystal noted: "The 18-month timeline is not an absolute. It's not as though everybody leaves [at that date]". The US had pledged itself to a long-term commitment, though its nature would change as and when insurgent violence declined.
Despite discouraging signals from Germany and France about sending extra troops, McChrystal said he expected all Nato members "to look at what they can do to expand their capabilities" in Afghanistan, guardian.co.uk reports.
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