Bush Pledges More Troops for Afghanistan

Gates confident new administration will honor promise to NATO
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 1:40 PM CDT
US President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrive for the start of the third day of the NATO summit in Bucharest Friday.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
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(Newser) – The US will boost the number of its troops committed to NATO's effort in Afghanistan in 2009, President Bush told fellow alliance members at this week's summit, Reuters reports. Defense Secretary Robert Gates related the pledge to reporters as he left the Bucharest summit. He didn’t specify a figure, saying only that it would be a “significant contribution.”

The secretary said the increase will go forward regardless of troop levels in Iraq, the AP reports. Gates said he was confident that the next president will deliver on Bush’s pledge because of the broad political support the Afghanistan effort commands at home. On the last day of the NATO summit, Russia agreed to allow the use of its territory for the land-based delivery of non-lethal supplies to the forces in Afghanistan.