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NATO commits more troops to Afghanistan

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NATO commits more troops to Afghanistan


NATO leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed to send 7,000 more troops to Afghanistan. It follows the United States pledge to send more 30,000 extra soldiers.

“Nations are backing up their words with deeds,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference after talks with NATO foreign ministers. “With more (troops) to come this is solidarity in action and it will have a powerful effect on the ground,” he added. Britain is firmly behind Washington and is warning its allies that success depends on a team effort. Foreign Secretary, David Miliband: “I believe that every single Foreign Minister attending this meeting and every single Government, needs to ask themselves whether they are doing the maximum possible on the military and civilian side to insure success in Afghanistan”. He also laid out what he called a new road map for NATO operations in Afghanistan, involving more aid and more training for Afghan security forces, as well as efforts to reintegrate Taliban fighters who agree to lay down their arms. The number of extra troops falls short, however, of Pentagon hopes. France’s Foreign Minister said it was not a question of numbers, rather the mission objective which counts. “For us, we believe we already have enough troops there.”, said Bernard Kouchner. The extra troops will increase total foreign forces to about 140,000. However Canada and the Netherlands both plan to withdraw combat troops by 2011, reflecting public concerns while France and Germany both appear more willing to send trainers rather than put soldiers on the ground.

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