Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Berlin rejects US call for troops

SHAKY ALLIANCE Germany said it is doing important work in northern Afghanistan and was surprised to receive a 'stern' letter from the US demanding that it do more

AFP , BERLIN

There are about 40,000 NATO and 20,000 US-led coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.

NATO commanders say they need about 7,500 more troops to carry out their mission.

Southern Afghanistan has seen the worst violence since the Taliban was ousted in the US-led invasion in 2001, after the Sept. 11 terror attacks by al-Qaeda.

The US State Department expressed concern on Thursday that the international community could abandon the war in Afghanistan, while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper again warned, during talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that Ottawa would withdraw its 2,500 soldiers from Afghanistan if it did not get reinforcements from other countries.

Scheffer said that the national commitments to UN, NATO and EU military operations could be streamlined.

"It's the same defense budgets, the same soldiers, the same planes," he said, adding that 21 countries are now members of both NATO and the EU.

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