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US Presses NATO for More Troops in Afghanistan

The United States is pressuring NATO allies to send more troops to confront Taleban militants in Afghanistan in the coming months.

NATO's top commander in Europe, U.S. General Bantz Craddock, is expected to call for more support for Afghan operations at today's meeting of NATO defense ministers in Seville, Spain.

The United States wants to bolster alliance forces in the southern and eastern regions of Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.

NATO commanders expect a surge in Taleban violence in coming months as the weather improves.

The United States and Britain have promised more troops for the NATO force in Afghanistan. The Bush administration is asking Congress for additional nearly $9 million to train and equip Afghan forces.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to urge NATO members to launch their own offensive against the Taleban before the change in season allows militants to intensify their attacks.

NATO has 35,000 troops in Afghanistan, a force which includes U.S. soldiers. There are also another 12,000 U.S. troops there, training Afghan forces and conducting special operations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.