NATO troops to stay in Afghanistan for another seven years 2008-02-18 21:31:32   Print

    STOCKHOLM, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Stroem-Erichsen said on Monday that NATO troops would stay in Afghanistan for another seven years, according to reports reaching here from Oslo.

    NATO, including Norway, cannot pull out until the Afghan army "functions well" and that is likely to take another seven years, Stroem-Erichsen told Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen, noting that the Afghan army now has 40,000 soldiers but needs at least 80,000.

    This is the first time the Norwegian defense minister gives a concrete estimate of when Norwegian troops may be brought home for good from Afghanistan, according to the newspaper.

    Norway currently has around 500 soldiers in Afghanistan, with another 200 set to leave for the war-torn country next month and some 150 to return home before the summer.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia
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