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NATO Offers More Than 1,800 Additional Troops for Afghanistan


NATO leaders, at their summit in Bucharest, have pledged to dispatch more than 1,800 additional troops for the allied force in Afghanistan.

France committed an additional 700 soldiers. Georgia, which hopes to become a NATO member, offered 500 and Poland will send 400 more soldiers and eight badly-needed helicopters. Italy, Romania and Greece agreed to add training teams for the Afghan army.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, and non-NATO-members Azerbaijan and New Zealand offered to send more modest numbers.

Poland and Georgia each will split their units between southern and eastern Afghanistan -- areas where Taliban insurgents are most active.

And Uzbekistan said it is ready to sign a deal to allow NATO to transport non-military supplies to troops in Afghanistan through the Central Asian nation.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters Friday that President George W. Bush has said the U.S will send a "significant" number of additional troops to Afghanistan next year.

Gates made the comment as he flew from Romania to Oman.

President Bush had urged NATO countries to bolster troop numbers and dispatch them to the front lines.

In response to the increased commitments, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his country's forces will remain in volatile southern Afghanistan.

Canada, earlier, had announced its intention to withdraw the troops next year unless other countries dispatched reinforcements to the area.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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