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UPDATED: 09:30, May 22, 2007
Bush, NATO chief discuss Afghanistan, enlargement
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U.S. President George W. Bush discussed Afghanistan, NATO's enlargement and efforts to deploy missile defense shield in Eastern Europe with visiting NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Crawford, Texas on Monday.

"We spent a lot of time talking about Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a vital mission for the United States, it's a vital mission for our allies in Europe, because what happens in Afghanistan matters to the security of our countries," Bush said at a joint press conference with the NATO chief after their talks.

"The secretary general is also focused on ensuring that NATO commanders have the forces they need to defeat the extremists and murderers who are trying to stop the advance of that country," Bush said, adding that he pledged to the NATO chief that the United States will work with NATO allies "to convince them that they must share more of the burden and must all share the risks in meeting our goal."

For his part, the NATO chief said Afghanistan is still one of the front lines in the fight against terrorism.

"And it is my strong conviction that that front line should not become a fault line. And that is why it's so important that all 26 NATO allies are committed to Afghanistan, and that the whole international community, for the longer term, stays committed to that nation," he said.

The United States has urged NATO allies to commit more troops and equipment to the fighting in Afghanistan against Taliban's spring offensive. However, NATO countries have hesitated because of rising casualties in the country.

Source: Xinhua

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