NATO to increase training in Iraq but delays decision on Afghanistan

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference in Brussels
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference in Brussels Copyright Olivier Hoslet/AP
Copyright Olivier Hoslet/AP
By Euronews
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With a May 1st deadline looming, defence ministers from the NATO military alliance have chosen to delay a decision on whether to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.

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The resurgence of Taliban violence in Afghanistan has complicated NATO's decision on whether to keep troops stationed in the country,

NATO defence ministers, holding a two-day video meeting hosted from headquarters in Brussels, decided to continue to assess the progress of peace talks and to wait before making the call.

After the meeting, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said: "We believe that there is still time to reach a political agreement to see progress before the deadline the first of May. Our focus is on the peace process and we will do whatever we can to make that be successful."

More than 10,000 NATO troops remain in Afghanistan - around a quarter of them are US soldiers.

But more importantly, American logistics and hardware are keeping the mission running.

The new Biden administration has returned the US into a leading role within the alliance - Trump was more hostile towards NATO.

While they've confirmed American commitment in Afghanistan until peace talks bear fruit again, security experts warn it will require patience.

Fabrice Pothier, chief strategy officer at Rasmussen Global told Euronews: "The Taliban are still on the attack - and they might even want to test the stamina of the Biden administration. So I think we have to buckle [up] for the next six or 12 months with some possible offensives by the Taliban to test a bit how far the new US administration is willing to go."

The NATO defence ministers also decided beef up the alliance's training mission in Iraq from 500 troops currently to 4,000 - they're concerned about a resurgence of ISIS terrorism in the country,

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