NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says military chiefs want several thousand more troops from the alliance to be deployed in Afghanistan to help combat Islamist insurgents. However, he stressed that any additional military personnel would not be "engaged in combat."
"Since 2015 we have been engaged in a train, assist and advise mission, so I believe strongly that the best weapon we have in the fight against terrorism is to train local forces, to build local capacities, to enable them to fight terrorism themselves and to stabilize their own country. So NATO is not engaged in a combat operation in Afghanistan, what we do is that we are enabling the Afghans to stabilize their own country."
Following talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Wednesday, Stoltenberg told reporters there are currently around 13,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan training local forces. Since NATO's combat mission in Afghanistan formally ended in 2014, Taliban attacks have intensified and Afghan military and civilian casualties risen. Last month, Taliban militants dressed in Afghan army uniforms slaughtered at least 135 young recruits at a northern base.