Italy Promises ‘1,000 Extra Soldiers’ for Afghanistan

December 3, 2009

(ChattahBox)—In the wake of President Obama’s decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, pressure is now being applied to U.S. NATO allies to increase their troop deployments to the region. Obama is requesting that Nato countries send an additional 10,000 troops, but yesterday Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen promised 5,000 with more possibly to come.

Today, Italy’s Defense Minister confirmed that country would contribute another 1,000 Italian soldiers to its current contingent of 3,200 troops.

In an interview published on Thursday with the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Italy’s Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa, confirmed that his country would send “about 1,000 extra soldiers.” La Russa denied reports that Italy planned to send nearly 1,500 troops, calling that number “just a hypothesis.”

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, offered a statement of support for Obama’s plans soon after the President’s nationally televised speech. Frattini said the conflict in Afghanistan was a test of Nato’s “credibility” and that it was “clear that Italy must finish the job started with Nato.”

Meanwhile, Germany, France and Britain have so far, not announced additional troops for the region. Poland, Albania, Italy, Finland and Spain, all indicated they would send additional troops to Kabul.

The U.S. now has 71,000 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, with a current supporting force of 38,000 NATO members. With the added deployments, the combined forces could grow to more than 140,000 soldiers.

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