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Nato allies agreed on Thursday to send more troops to Afghanistan, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that the alliance would also increase its focus on supporting Afghan special operations forces.

Stoltenberg, who was speaking after a meeting of defence ministers in Brussels, also said sanctuaries used by insurgents across the border in Pakistan had “to be addressed as part of the solution to the conflict”.

'US, allies withdrew from Afghanistan too fast'

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States and its Nato allies likely drew down its big troop presence too quickly from Afghanistan, but he vowed to stick with the war, refusing to put a date on when it might end.

“Looking back on it, it's pretty much a consensus that we may have pulled our troops out too rapidly, reduced the numbers a little too rapidly,” Mattis told a news conference following a meeting of Nato defence ministers to discuss Afghanistan.

US forces in Afghanistan are below their peak of more than 100,000 troops in 2011, when Washington was under huge domestic political pressure to draw down the costly operation.