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NATO Secretary-General Calls Afghanistan 'a Frontline' in Fight Against Terrorism

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Thursday said NATO members must defeat militants in Afghanistan or face the threat of terrorist attacks in their own nations.

In a joint press conference with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, the NATO chief called Afghanistan a "frontline" in the fight against Islamic militants.

He stressed NATO forces must succeed in Afghanistan. Otherwise, he said, extremists are certain to strike European nations as they did the United States.

Mr. de Hoop Scheffer was referring to the September 11, 2001 al-Qaida attacks in New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Earlier Thursday, Mr. de Hoop Scheffer met with Mr. Karzai to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan.

The NATO chief is traveling with NATO Supreme Allied Commander General John Craddock.

During the two-day visit, they also will get updates from NATO's International Security Assistance Force commanders in Afghanistan.

The trip comes as NATO officials in Afghanistan say they are preparing for a Taleban offensive in the south of the country.

NATO spokesman Colonel Tom Collins has said NATO forces and Afghan troops will soon begin new operations in those areas.

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