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Biden discusses Afghanistan with NATO, EU

Biden discusses Afghanistan with NATO, EU

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden consulted with European allies Tuesday on the way forward in Afghanistan where NATO's military leadership says coalition forces are not winning the war in the south against a Taliban-led insurgency.
The Obama administration has ordered 17,000 more U.S. troops to the country to bolster the 38,000 already there as a way to turn the tide.
Biden first met with NATO Secretary-General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, then with the panel of ambassadors from NATO's 26 member states. He will meet later Tuesday with senior officials at EU headquarters in Brussels.
His visit _ less than a week after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with senior NATO and EU officials here _ highlights the new priority that diplomatic outreach to allies has become for Washington.
An issue closely related to the Afghan war is growing concern that neighboring Pakistan could be sliding further into instability.
President Barack Obama is reviewing how NATO's mission in Afghanistan can turn the tide in the volatile south of the country, which has seen a steady rise in fighting and losses for U.S. and allied countries.
The top U.S. military officer in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, said Sunday that coalition forces were not winning the war in the south, which remains the center of the Taliban-led insurgency.
Washington has urged European allies such as France, Italy and Germany to contribute more troops, but they have hesitated to send soldiers to front-line fighting. U.S. officials also have asked European countries to consider what aid they could give to stabilize Afghanistan and foster reconstruction efforts there.
EU officials said they could provide more police trainers, judges and other judicial experts to improve the rule of law in Afghanistan. The EU plans to increase its police training mission in Afghanistan from 180 to 400.
U.S. national security experts are expected to finish the review before Obama attends a NATO leaders summit next month in France.
The U.S. is the largest contributor to a joint NATO force. NATO also has about 30,000 non-U.S. troops there.
After his meeting with NATO allies, Biden heads to EU headquarters for talks with EU officials, including Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the 27-nation bloc's presidency.


Updated : 2020-12-04 01:20 GMT+08:00