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US allies urged to respond to Obama troops pledge

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US allies urged to respond to Obama troops pledge


President Obama’s announcement of an extra thirty thousand US troops for Afghanistan has put pressure on America’s allies to follow suit. Pentagon officials hope other NATO members will contribute up to ten thousand more soldiers.

The US president said world security was at stake. The mission he said was to defeat Al-Qaeda and halt Taliban’s advance. NATO allies have been cautious about sending extra troops. The organisation’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said 5000 more would be sent in 2010: “I congratulate President Obama on his determination and the strategic vision he has demonstrated. But this is not just America’s war” In response to domestic opposition, President Obama has urged Americans not to see the conflict as a new Vietnam war. About half the US contingent operate separately from the international force, on the border with Pakistan. Britain has said it’ll deploy another 500 troops this month. But some European allies such as France have resisted calls to increase numbers. The country’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said there was no need to send more French troops for the moment. He still praised Barack Obama’s speech, saying the objective was to let the Afghans run their own affairs. France is considering helping in other areas such as training and policing. Danish troops were visited this week by Princess Mary. Among other countries Germany says it will wait till after next month’s international conference on Afghanistan before deciding on sending more troops.

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