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General calls for 2,000 more troops
Calgary Sun
September 10, 2006

WARSAW -- NATO forces are meeting more resistance than anticipated in southern Afghanistan, an alliance general said yesterday.

He said at least 2,000 more troops were needed to quell the insurgency.

Canadian Gen. Ray Henault, chairman of the NATO military committee, will appeal formally to the alliance's council tomorrow for member states to commit another 2,000-2,500 soldiers to confront the resurgent Taliban guerrillas, he said after closed-door talks with NATO military chiefs.

"Afghanistan is the most complex mission NATO has ever undertaken," Henault said. "Our collective assessment is that we are satisfied with the military-related progress to date, particularly in the north and the west, but less so in the south, where it's been more difficult."

Henault said only 85% of forces required for the mission have been supplied by member countries so far.

That was "considered acceptable by the commanders ... to undertake the level of mission activity that they had anticipated ... until they discovered the intensity of the resistance" from Taliban forces, he said.

NATO's military leaders will hold two more conferences next week, aimed at pushing the member countries to commit more troops to the mission in Afghanistan, NATO spokesman Canadian Col. Brett Boudreau said.

The chiefs of defence have agreed on holding two conferences -- one, next Wednesday that will address existing shortfalls in the I-SAF Afghanistan mission and the other on Friday, that will look at shortfalls for the NATO response force, Boudreau said.

He said Canada, with its 2,200 troops in Kandahar, is already a significant contributor to the mission in Afghanistan.

Canada's Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier attended the meeting.

Last week, alliance commander Gen. James Jones called for extra troops and aircraft to be sent to the south of Afghanistan, where NATO relieved U.S.-led troops a month ago.

Original Text