The good news for Washington is that NATO plans to send more troops to Afghanistan. But the commitment is not quite the early Christmas present Barack Obama wants, with the overall number falling short of US expectations.NATO foreign ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss their response to the American troop surge. NATO spokesman James Appathurai was upbeat. “I can confirm that we have now well over 20 countries that are indicating, or have already indicated, that they intend to increase the amount of forces that they have in the country, in Afghanistan,” he said. “This is on top of the 38,000 that are already there”. Among the contributors – Italy looks set to send up to 1,000 more soldiers and Britain, which has the second largest contingent, plans to boost its troops by 500 to 10,000. While Germany has not made any pledges of new troops, its lower house of parliament today voted to prolong the country’s existing Afghan mission. The Netherlands and Canada meanwhile are planning to cut their contingents. The revised US war strategy continues to be discussed in Congress. The Obama administration is sending an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan but says they will begin to come home by mid-2011.
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