Up to 20 NATO countries are to step up their involvement in Afghanistan according to the American Defence Secretary. At Krakow in Poland, Robert Gates told a gathering of defence ministers from the alliance, and other countries on the ground in Afghanistan that it is not just an increased military presence, but covers civilian personnel and training staff too.He said: “We all agreed that we must intensify our efforts to bring security and stability to Afghanistan and to ensure that the Afghans are capable of sustaining it themselves. At the same time we cannot neglect the need for a long term increase in civilian contributions and the necessity to improve coordination between civilian and military components”. A senior American commander has indicated that a new route to supply NATO troops in Afghanistan has been agreed, after Kyrgystan formally served notice on America to leave an airbase it is currently using. Rear Admiral Mark Harnitchek said Tajikistan is letting non-military NATO goods travel on its roads and railways, and added Uzbekistan is allowing cargo transit too.