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NATO secretary general not sure of success in Afghanistan

RIA Novosti

10:45 29/09/2009 WASHINGTON, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Victory in Afghanistan is not guaranteed, and NATO needs to change its strategy in the country, the alliance's secretary general said Monday at a Washington-based think tank.

"Despite everything that we have already done, reaching our goal in Afghanistan is not guaranteed," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told an audience at the Atlantic Council. "We cannot simply continue doing exactly what we are doing now."

Rasmussen said Afghan authorities should gradually, province by province, take full responsibility for security while leaving the international coalition forces only auxiliary functions.

Servicemen from over 40 countries act in Afghanistan under NATO command. At least 371 foreign troops have died this year in Afghanistan of which 213 were U.S. military personnel. There are currently some 100,000 military personnel in Afghanistan, including 65,000 U.S. troops.

U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, who commands U.S. troops, is expected to request an extra 10,000 troops be sent to Afghanistan to help deal with the recent upsurge in violence.

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly that Kabul fully supports troop increases as part of the new U.S. strategy to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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