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NATO Chief: Afghanistan Mission Expected to Surge in Combat and Support Roles བོད་སྐད།


The head of NATO says he expects "substantially more forces" for Afghanistan as part of a wider strategy to hand over security to Afghans.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday NATO forces should transfer more responsibility to Afghan troops starting next year. He was speaking to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Scotland.

Rasmussen's comments mirror a timetable proposed late Monday by British Prime Minster Gordon Brown. Mr. Brown offered to host an international conference on Afghanistan early next year in Britain, which would set a schedule for handing over security responsibilities to Afghan forces starting in 2010.

Mr. Brown also said he wants that conference to chart a comprehensive political framework within which NATO's military strategy can be accomplished.

U.S. President Barack Obama has promised a decision soon on if or how he will reinforce the nearly 68,000 U.S. troops fighting militants in Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Brown said Monday the greatest threat to their countries' security is international terrorism.

Mr. Obama said in Shanghai that terrorist groups are dangerous because their militants have "no conscience" when killing innocent civilians.

Mr. Brown noted real progress against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan Monday, saying seven of the top 12 al-Qaida leaders had been killed since January 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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