From the New York Times: [W]ith NATO foreign ministers set to hold two days of talks at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels starting Thursday, Italy was reported to be considering the biggest increase among European allies made public so far, about 1,000 soldiers.

Corriere della Sera, a daily newspaper, quoted the Italian defense minister Ignacio La Russa, as saying the scale of reinforcements would be discussed at a meeting between the Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. But asked if the number was likely to be around 1,000, Mr. La Russa said: “Yes, I’d say so.”

According to the NATO command in Afghanistan, Italy has 2,750 soldiers currently serving in western Afghanistan. An increase of 1,000 soldiers would put the Italian deployment on a par with France. (photo: EPA)

Addendum: Apparently, you can make a friend request to Italy’s Minister of Defense on his Facebook page.

Update from Politico: As Hillary Clinton arrived in Brussels for NATO foreign ministerial meetings to encourage further allied troop contributions to Afghanistan, the White House is praising Italy for its commitment today of 1,000 new troops to the mission.

“The United States welcomes Italy’s announcement that it will significantly increase its troop contributions in Afghanistan,” NSC spokesman Michael Hammer said. “Italy’s new commitment demonstrates the firm resolve of NATO allies and ISAF partners to succeed in our shared Afghan mission. “