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Nato chief tells US allies are committed to Afghan role

In his first speech in the US as Nato secretary-general, Anders Rasmussen said the campaign in Afghanistan was one of necessity, not of choice, echoing an Obama phrase of several months earlier. The speech and trip come after General Stanley McChrystal, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, warned of likely failure without more troops. Rising casualty figures have sapped American support for the operation. Rasmussen, who will meet President Barack Obama today, noted that 40% of Nato’s troops come from non-US countries. While shoring up the coalition is the main purpose of his trip, Rasmussen has avoided taking sides in the increasingly acrimonious American troop debate. There are currently some 100 000 foreign soldiers in Afghanistan from more than 40 countries. More than 60 000 of them are Americans. Obama is considering sending more US troops as part of his ongoing strategy review.

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