Australian PM "actively considering" North Atlantic Treaty Organisation request for additional troops in Afghanistan

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Mrs May was speaking as she met Nato's secretary general Jens Stoltenberg at Downing Street, amid speculation the United Kingdom could be asked to send more troops to Afghanistan.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance is considering sending several thousand more troops to Afghanistan, but not in a direct combat role.

"The political and security situation in Afghanistan will also nearly certainly deteriorate through 2018, even with a modest increase in the military assistance by the USA and its partners", Coats told senators.

U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster visited Kabul in April to assess the situation, days after the U.S. military dropped one of the largest conventional weapons ever used in combat during an operation against Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan.

In Coats's assessment, the Kabul government's weakness; the home army's continuing poor performance, the Taliban's resurgence, and ISIS's rise all portend a few more bad years for Afghans - and US forces downrange.

As the administration of President Donald Trump weighs sending more troops to Afghanistan, the 16-year war grinds on in bloody stalemate.

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By the end of 2014, most USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces had left the country, leaving Afghan troops struggling to hold off a determined Taliban insurgency, at a loss of life that a US watchdog group recently called "shockingly high".

"We very much consider it to be important that here in the United Kingdom that we spend 2% of our GDP on defence and also meet the 20% (of annual defence spending) on new equipment commitment as well". Forty two Australian troops have died in the country since the war started in 2001. Des Roches asked. "There are Pakistani safe havens whether it is due to Pakistani lack of ability or Pakistani collusion, and as long as they [Taliban] are fighting for their life, it seems unlikely that this will defeat them".

Officials in favor of the second option say the U.S. "don't fight other people's wars", and want to focus on preparing the Afghan military to fight ISIS itself. The team was looking at the mission and the strategy holistically, not just in Afghanistan, but beyond that country, the official added.

Before he became president, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter: We should leave Afghanistan immediately.

But Davood Moradian, director of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, said the US administration needs to develop "complementary" military and political policies, especially with the government embroiled in ethnic disputes and losing public support, while the Taliban are already using the global military presence as an excuse to continue fighting the state.

"Allied leaders will consider future contributions at our meeting in Brussels later this month, and the issue will be examined in further detail by defence ministers in June".

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