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Pressure on NATO allies after Obama's Afghan boost
President Barack Obama has ordered in 17,000 more troops to battle a worsening insurgency. He announced the move ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Krakow, Poland, on Thursday and Friday, saying the troops were needed to "stabilize a deteriorating situation."
But with international forces bogged down more than seven years after overthrowing the Taliban, Washington has struggled to persuade allies to commit more forces, and is not expecting substantial new pledges of combat troops from them in Krakow.
"We always go with the hope of being pleasantly surprised," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said. "But I don't think we go there with the expectation of additional forces for Afghanistan at this meeting."
He said Washington's message was that "more NATO support is needed" and Obama wanted at least to see more help for the civilian effort, which includes programs to push development and improved governance and the vital area of police training.
"We are obviously welcoming of that, if that is an easier pill to swallow," Morrell said. "But we need more help to ensure that Afghanistan is a success."
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