Mission to last `as long as it takes`: NATO chief
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Last Updated: Friday, August 28, 2009, 23:11
Ankara: NATO's mission in Afghanistan will last "as long as it takes" to ensure that the country is secure, the alliance's new leader said on Friday during a visit to the Turkish capital.

Thanks in part to an increase in the number of troops, the mission is making a difference in the war-ravaged and poverty stricken country, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

But allies still must contribute more, Fogh Rasmussen said, adding that he had asked NATO members including Turkey to help train Afghan soldiers and police.

"The situation is not satisfactory right now, but we have made progress," Fogh Rasmussen told a small group of reporters at the end of his two-day visit to Ankara.

"We will stay as long as it takes to secure the country. We will stay committed, we will assist the Afghan people in securing their own country, and therefore we will stay as long as it takes."

Fogh Rasmussen, who has said NATO needs more troops in Afghanistan if the mission is to succeed, would not be drawn into any discussions on numbers or combat troops required, saying he was awaiting the results of a US report.

US officials are considering whether to ask for more troops as they prepare a report on the war in Afghanistan. A draft assessment called for speeding up the training of Afghan soldiers and police - a job that would require more foreign trainers.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, August 28, 2009, 23:11

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