The U.S defense secretary James Mattis on Thursday called on NATO allies to finish the job in Afghanistan or risk terrorist revenge as the alliance confirmed a troop increase to counter a resurgent Taliban.
Mattis however refused to give a firm number for how many troops U.S President Donald Trump would commit under a new strategy, the AFP reported.
"I don't put timelines on war, war is a fundamentally unpredictable phenomenon," Mattis told reporters after meeting his counterparts from the 29-nation alliance.
"The bottom line is that NATO has made a commitment to Afghanistan for freedom from fear and terror, and freedom from terror demands that you can't let this be undone,” he added.
Citing both Afghanistan and "ungoverned spaces" in Syria and Iraq where the Islamic State group has flourished, the retired Marine general added: "You cannot say 'I am tired of it' and come home and then you get hit again."
He said that after talks with the allies about 70 percent of the new plan's requirements were in place and he looked forward to bridging the remaining gap.
On Thursday night, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO and its allies have reconfirmed their commitment to Afghanistan and that they will sustain Resolute Support Mission beyond 2017.
Speaking at a press conference after Thursday’s defense ministers meeting in Brussels, he said: “Our military authorities have requested a few thousand more troops for the mission and today, I can confirm that we will increase our presence in Afghanistan.”
“We have recently seen brutal attacks in Kabul. In recent months, hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed. This is exactly why our presence is so important. So today, we reconfirmed our enduring commitment to Afghanistan. We will sustain our Resolute Support Mission beyond 2017.”
NATO currently has 13,500 troops in Afghanistan in the Resolute Support mission to "train, advise and assist" Afghan troops.
Reports indicate that an increase of up to 3,000 was under considerations, while U.S officials say it might be nearer 4,000.
The United States, which once had more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, is preparing a new strategy for a war which has dragged on for 16 years and which even US generals concede is a "stalemate" at best.