NATO recommends favouring civilian protection in Afghanistan over hunting the Taliban, and fast-track training for Afghan army and police personnel. This was proposed as central to any exit strategy for international forces in Afghanistan (Isaf).Isaf chief US General Stanley McChrystal laid down the approach for the 28 members of the Atlantic Alliance gathered in Bratislava, Slovakia. The NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed the value of investing in Afghan capacity: “We have not agreed to start handing over the lead, the conditions are not yet right. The Afghan security forces are not yet strong enough and I must also stress that transition when it happens does not mean NATO forces leave.” NATO defence ministers backed Stanley’s idea of a broader counter-insurgency strategy, but side-stepped whether there should be a big increase in foreign troop numbers pending a decision by US President Barack Obama. Rasmussen said it was clear that winning stability would not come cheap: “It costs about 50 times more to support a NATO soldier in Afghanistan than it costs to support an Afghan soldier.” Ministers expected any new troop pledges could come at a meeting in December, once Obama has made his decision. 65,000 US troops and 39,000 from allied nations are involved in NATO’s Afghan mission.