| Ander Nieuws week 52 / Midden-Oosten 2011 |
NATO to leave 15,000 troops in Afghanistan after withdrawal

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)
December 13, 2011
NATO intends to leave around 15,000 troops in Afghanistan after all combat troops have been withdrawn by the end of 2014, NATO's chief of staff in Europe said Tuesday.
German General Manfred Lange said he was 'extraordinarily confident' that the withdrawal would take place as planned.
The military alliance was currently debating how many troops should be left behind, he told journalists at NATO's military headquarters in the Belgian city of Mons.
'I would say around 15,000, plus or minus, I can imagine,' said Lange. The number depended on whether the Afghan army and police force was to continue being supported by the West, he said.
There are currently around 130,000 troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
'There will be no more combat operations against the Taliban, that's what we want to achieve,' Lange said.
However it was important to leave some troops behind to provide training and technical support, as well as possible medical aid, he said. Soldiers were also needed to protect 'what we're leaving behind,' he said.
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| Ander Nieuws week 52 / Midden-Oosten 2011 |