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NATO To Debate Future Role In Afghanistan

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a news conference ahead of a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels on November 30.

NATO foreign ministers will debate the military alliance's future role in Afghanistan at a meeting in Brussels on December 1.

Calls are growing to postpone a further drawdown of forces from Afghanistan amid a worsening security situation.

Afghan forces formally took over security in the country on January 1 but have struggled to counter a rising wave of Taliban and other Islamist attacks. In September, Taliban fighters briefly captured the northern provincial capital of Kunduz.

In October, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States would extend its military presence beyond next year rather than go ahead with a planned withdrawal of most troops.

The military alliance is aiming to "keep approximately the same force level, around 12,000 troops," in Afghanistan next year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told RFE/RL on November 30.

Stoltenberg said that, despite the increased violence by Islamist groups in the northern provinces of Kunduz, Faryab, and Badakshan, the alliance is not considering establishing a new combat operation in Afghanistan.

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said he expects the alliance's foreign ministers on December 1 to "parallel the U.S. decision to sustain its current mission and its current force posture through 2016."

Based on reporting by dpa and RFE/RL's Afghan Service