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Ex-Nato chief: 15,000 troops should stay in Afghanistan

Published on Aug 15, 2013 6:36 AM
US Army soldiers climb upon arrival to Observation Post Mace from Forward Operating Base Bostick in eastern Afghanistan Naray district, Kunar province near border of Pakistan on Aug 26, 2011. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (AFP) - The United States and its allies should immediately announce how many troops will stay on in Afghanistan after 2014, former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) supreme commander Admiral James Stavridis argued on Wednesday.

Mr Stavridis, who recently finished a four-year stint as the alliance's top military leader, said it was vital to unveil the troop plans quickly to counter Taleban propaganda claiming foreign troops are abandoning the country.

In a commentary, Mr Stavridis wrote that he supported keeping 15,000 United States (US) and allied forces in the country after the bulk of coalition troops withdraw as planned in 2014.

"I believe the correct number is about 9,000 US and 6,000 allied troops, for a total of about 15,000 allied trainers who would focus on mentoring, training, and advising the 350,000 strong Afghan National Security Forces," Mr Stavridis wrote in Foreign Policy.

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