NATO ministers to grapple with Afghan troubles

April 17, 2012 20:29

BRUSSELS - NATO foreign and defense ministers will refine plans for withdrawing combat troops from Afghanistan this week in a meeting that comes after an insurgent attack in the heart of Kabul and recrimination from the alliance's Afghan allies.

The meeting, at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, will prepare the ground for a NATO summit in Chicago next month which will detail pullback plans, and outline funding and measures to try to ensure Afghanistan does not collapse into civil war.

Ministers will also discuss ways to maintain defense capabilities while their budgets are under pressure. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is also expected to attend on the meeting Thursday and discuss NATO's missile defense system - which Russia sees as a threat.

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