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Afghanistan Welcomes Southern Expansion of NATO Forces

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed NATO's expansion of its peacekeeping force into the volatile southern part of the country, saying it will boost security.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul Friday, Mr. Karzai said Afghanistan currently lacks the resources and forces to maintain security on its own.

NATO foreign ministers on Thursday approved a plan to send about 6,000 troops to back up the 9,500 alliance peacekeepers already in Afghanistan.

The peacekeeping force is based mainly in the northern and western parts of the country and around the capital, Kabul. It will spread to the south, which has become a base for many insurgents.

NATO officials say the most dangerous counter-insurgency work will remain in the hands of the 20,000-member U.S.-led coalition. But NATO will train and support local Afghan forces.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.