German defense officials recommend increasing Afghanistan troops to 4,500

Germany plans to increase the number of its troops in Afghanistan by 1,000 this fall, senior defense officials said Tuesday. The proposed increase would bring the total German commitment to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to 4,500, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung and military chief Wolfgang Schneiderhan said. They also recommended extending the deployment of the troops through at least December 2009. US Gen. James Mattis, NATO's commander in charge of military modernization, welcomed the announcement, saying he hoped that it would spark similar pledges from other countries. "We are up against a common enemy there," Mattis said during a trip to Warsaw. "I am heartened by Germany's decision and I hope ... there will be more actions like that."