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NATO to send up to 3,500 more troops to Iraq

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 15: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference on NATO Defense Ministers' Meeting to be held on February 17-18, in Brussels, Belgium on February 15, 2021. ( NATO/Pool - Anadolu Agency )
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference on NATO Defense Ministers' Meeting to be held on February 17-18, in Brussels, Belgium on February 15, 2021. [NATO/Pool - Anadolu Agency]

NATO defense ministers decided on Thursday to send as much as 3,500 additional troops to Iraq, Anadolu Agency reported.

"We will expand the NATO training mission in Iraq to ensure that ISIS (Daesh) doesn't return," the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced at a press conference.

The number of NATO personnel will be increased from the current 500 to 4,000 in the country, the NATO chief said after the virtual meeting's second day.

Noting that the Daesh terror group still operates in Iraq, Stoltenberg said the "increase in attacks highlights the importance to increase the NATO mission."

READ: Europe countries, US warn against targeting US installations in Iraq

He added that by expanding its capacity-building mission, the alliance aimed to avoid a situation in the future that would require NATO combat forces.

NATO defense ministers have yet to decide on the future presence of the military alliance in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said.

"We want to make sure that we have a lasting political agreement that enables us to leave," he said.

The NATO chief stressed that the alliance seeks to ensure Afghanistan never again becomes a "safe haven for terrorists that would attack our homeland."

Categories
AfghanistanAsia & AmericasInternational OrganisationsIraqMiddle EastNATONews
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