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NATO leader says alliance is prevailing in Afghanistan

NATO leader says alliance is prevailing in Afghanistan

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Friday the 26-member alliance is in Afghanistan for the long haul and is not losing.
Speaking before a White House meeting with President George W. Bush, de Hoop Scheffer said that in addition to supporting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people, "we're also there because we are fighting terrorism ,and we cannot afford to lose. We are not losing; we are prevailing."
Bush said the United States remains committed to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
"We are committed to a comprehensive strategy that helps folks in Afghanistan realize security, at the same time, economic prosperity and political progress," he said.
NATO's International Security Assistance Forces is 50,000-strong in Afghanistan, but commanders have asked for more combat troops, particularly for the country's south, where the insurgency is the most active.
Countries like Canada, which has 2,500 troops in Kandahar, have threatened to end their combat role in Afghanistan unless other NATO countries provide an additional 1,000 troops to help the anti-Taliban drive there.
The United States, which already has some 28,000 forces in the country _ both in the NATO-led mission and as part of a separate U.S.-led counter-terrorism coalition _ is sending in April an additional 3,200 Marines, most of whom are expected to be stationed in Kandahar during their seven-month tour.
The two leaders said they would discuss NATO enlargement, a topic on the agenda for the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in early April.
The alliance has to decide whether to invite Croatia, Albania and Macedonia to join NATO. The alliance is also considering building closer ties to Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia and Bosnia.
Bush said de Hoop Scheffer would provide him an assessment of the progress the three nations that are candidates for membership have made.
De Hoop Scheffer said the Bucharest summit will also look at how NATO can help national efforts to protect energy supplies and prevent cyber attacks on computer networks.


Updated : 2021-04-22 23:00 GMT+08:00