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Canadian Report Says NATO Afghan Mission In Trouble

February 13, 2007 -- A new report issued by a committee in the Canadian Senate says NATO's military mission in Afghanistan is facing problems and has little chance of success unless NATOmember countries commit significantly more troops and resources to defeat insurgents and stabilize the country.

The report, titled "Taking A Hard Look At A Hard Mission," was issued by the national security and defense committee.

The committee said it reviewed NATO's mission in Afghanistan over the past year, and recommended that Canada consider withdrawing its 2,500 soldiers from the country if the NATO allies do not deploy "a significantly larger" stability force to southern Afghanistan soon.

The report suggested that a "defensible buffer zone" be created on the Afghan side of the border to contain Pakistan's rugged border areas.

"It is...doubtful that the mission can be accomplished given the limited resources that NATO is currently investing," the committee concluded.

During a visit to Pakistan on February 12, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates pledged that the United States would not repeat the "mistake" of neglecting Afghanistan and allowing Taliban and Al-Qaeda extremists to take over the country. Gates said the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan is for the long term.

After meeting with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf, Gates stressed the importance of cooperation between Pakistani, Afghan, and foreign forces in defeating the Taliban insurgency.

(compiled from agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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