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NATO Says More Troops Needed for Afghan Election


NATO's secretary-general said additional troops are needed to secure Afghanistan during its August 20 presidential election.

Jaap De Hoop Scheffer said he wants four more battalions - or about 4,000 soldiers - in place for the vote. He spoke after meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, Poland's Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said his country is already preparing to increase its 1,600-strong force in war-torn Afghanistan. He did not say how many more soldiers will be sent but suggested they will be in place by May.

Meanwhile in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her British counterpart David Miliband, held talks dominated by the situation in Afghanistan.

Miliband said the European Union and NATO allies are pleased that the Obama administration wants to include them in its review of the objectives, strategy and resources for the Afghan war.

Clinton said there is an integrated strategy to achieve objectives in Afghanistan, including boosting what she called "the civilian capacity" of the Afghan government for police and military training.

The worsening Taliban insurgency has convinced U.S. President Barack Obama to send an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan in the coming months.

The presence of international troops and rising insecurity are expected to be key issues in Afghanistan's presidential race.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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