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Afghan Military Ready To Welcome More Foreign Troops

An Afghan army convoy in the western Afghanistan (file photo).
An Afghan army convoy in the western Afghanistan (file photo).

KABUL, -- Afghan security officials have welcomed the call for more international forces in Afghanistan by the top U.S. commander.

General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan, told a Senate panel in Washington on February 9 that his mission needs thousands of more troops to support the Afghan forces as they fight to hold back a growing Taliban-led insurgency.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said more international troops would be a "good step" toward countering militant groups in Afghanistan.

"The Afghan Defense Ministry supports any decision taken between the Afghan and American governments," Waziri said on February 10. "This is a joint battle against terrorism, and we support any possible way to tackle terrorism in the country."

Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the NATO-led force in Afghanistan had enough troops to carry out counterterrorism missions but had "a shortfall of a few thousand" for training and advising Afghan security forces.

Waziri said the Afghan military is seeking more equipment and training from Washington.

Following the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan has narrowed considerably to training Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism missions.

From their peak of about 100,000 in 2011, some 8,400 U.S. troops currently remain in Afghanistan.

-- Written by Mirwais Harooni for Reuters