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UPDATED: 10:23, September 21, 2006
Europe to contribute more troops to NATO mission in Afghanistan
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European nations have agreed to provide more troops for NATO's mission in Afghanistan, the organization's top commander said Wednesday.

Romania and Poland have agreed to send a battalion each, while Britain and Canada are adding to their forces, James L. Jones, a U. S. general and NATO's top commander, told reporters at Pentagon.

Jones also expressed the optimism that European countries will finally agree to provide more aircraft for NATO's efforts in Afghanistan.

The news came after weeks of talks between Jones and European military leaders, and the new commitments will nearly meet Jones' goal to increase NATO's presence in Afghanistan by 2,500.

There are currently about 20,000 NATO troops there, and another 21,000 U.S. troops.

On the Afghan situation, Jones said the good news is NATO and U. S. troops are killing more insurgents, as recent military operations killed 1,000-1,500 Taliban members.

However, violence has increased in the south and drug trade is increasing.

Jones said NATO troops' role in combating illicit drugs is supplemental and it is up to the Afghan government to deal with the problem.

"Having NATO troops out there burning crops, for example, is not going to significantly contribute to the war on drugs. It's much more sophisticated and complex than that," he added.

Source: Xinhua

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