White House sees more NATO troops for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 1, 2009 3:48pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama expects NATO to announce on Friday a "significant number" of fresh troops for Afghanistan, an administration official said.

Obama will stress in a speech on his new strategy on Tuesday that the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan is not open-ended, the official told reporters in a briefing before the speech.

The president has directed that all U.S. combat forces partner with Afghan security forces for training purposes.

The official discounted criticism that setting a timeframe for the withdrawal of U.S. forces might prompt Taliban fighters to lie low until U.S. troops leave. "If the Taliban thinks they can wait us out, I think that they are misjudging the president's approach," the U.S. official said.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)

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