NATO May Sustain Afghan Troop Level at 352,000 Through 2018

Friday, 22 Feb 2013 07:27 AM

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BRUSSELS — NATO’s Afghan security forces would remain at 352,000 troops through 2018, under a new proposal being weighed by the alliance’s defense ministers, senior officials said Thursday, according to the New York Times.
 
NATO leaders approved a proposal last spring that would have cut the Afghan National Security Forces to less than 240,000 troops when the NATO mission ends in December 2014, because of the expenses entailed and the possibility that troop funding could contribute to government financial corruption, the Times reported.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta was present at the alliance’s headquarters to open a two-day conference. It is the first meeting of NATO defense ministers since President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that the United States would reduce its Afghan forces by 34,000 troops within a year.

One senior NATO official told the Times the alliance is “strongly considering” the proposal, but its specific details — including how the cost would be shared — are still to be worked out.

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