» Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Asked what further discussions there had been about troops being sent to Afghanistan from other countries, and how many more would be sent, the PMOS replied that he was not going to brief on how many would be sent, but what was important was that Poland had sent an extra 1000 troops. The PMOS said that the important things about this summit was that first of all, there was an acceptance that this was crucial not only to Afghanistan, but to NATO and NATO’s future. As the Prime Minister had said in his contributions last night, NATO had to not only say it, but mean it as well. In terms of the flexibility that was now being introduced by lifting some of the caveats around NATO’s troops, that was important progress.

As the Prime Minister had said this morning, there was significant progress, we had not got everything that was needed, SACEUR had said that he now had 85% of what he needed. That was progress. The other important thing about the summit was, however, that it had established a renewed momentum on Afghanistan, and it was important to carry that forward. That was what we would be doing from now on, this was not the end of the process, but it was a very good start.

Asked for more information about what would happen on the ground regarding troops, and what did that mean in political terms, the PMOS said that with regards to the operational details, that would be for the operational commanders to discuss and to be worked out by NATO. In terms of the political signals, what it meant was that leaders at the summit had said that if our troops needed reinforcement at some point, then they could get that help from elsewhere in Afghanistan. That was a very important shift. The PMOS said that if it got "hot and heavy", then help would come from other parts of Afghanistan.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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