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New NATO chief calls for int'l help for Afghanistan

2009-08-04 13:32 BJT

Special Report: Afghan presidential election |

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NATO's new secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the organization needs more international help from the United Nations and European Union to secure and rebuild Afghanistan.

The former Danish prime minister was speaking in Brussels after taking office on Monday.

Rasmussen briefed reporters on goals for his term. He said Afghans must take over lead responsibility for security in most of their country. He stressed that NATO must and will be there in support.

NATO has about 64-thousand soldiers struggling to contain an escalating Taliban insurgency.

More than 20-thousand new US troops are being deployed, but European allies have been reluctant to increase their contributions.

Rasmussen says his top priorities will be guiding the war in Afghanistan to a successful conclusion. Relations with Russia are also expected to take up much of his time.