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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007, 16:57 GMT
Nato chief in Afghanistan pledge
German soldiers in Afghanistan
Germany is being urged to contribute more troops
The Secretary General of Nato, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has pledged that the international community will do a "better job" in Afghanistan.

He said that this year the entire international community would step up its support for the Afghan people.

Mr Scheffer was addressing Nato defence ministers at the opening of two days of talks in the Spanish city of Seville.

Nato commanders at the conference will request more troops and resources from member states to fight the Taleban.

'Reconstruction and development'

Mr Scheffer pledged more money on reconstruction and training and more money for the Afghan national army and police.

Jaap  de Hoop Scheffer
We need development, reconstruction and nation-building
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

"Better equipment will be donated to the Afghan national army and police," he said.

He said the alliance would provide sufficient troops to confront the Taleban, who are predicted to be preparing a major offensive against the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in coming weeks.

"There will be more forces in Nato-Isaf to better create the conditions for reconstruction and development to take place," he told the meeting.

There are currently around 33,000 troops from 37 nations in Afghanistan. Their objective is to strengthen the remit of the weak central government and provide the necessary levels of security for reconstruction to take place.

Gen Dan McNeill
Gen McNeill has been based in Afghanistan before

Correspondents say that Afghanistan's lawless border regions with Pakistan is a major haven for international terrorism, and is the area where the Taleban are regrouping.

The new Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen Dan McNeill, says that 2,000 extra troops are needed to patrol the border with Pakistan.

Gen McNeill is expected to ask for more helicopters and special forces from member states at the Seville meeting.

Slow pace

The BBC's defence and security correspondent Rob Watson says this is something of a crunch meeting for Nato because its mission in Afghanistan has proved more difficult than expected.

Two British soldiers in Afghanistan
So far only the US and Britain have pledged to send more troops

Some Nato countries like Italy, Spain and France have been reluctant to increase troops numbers or drop restrictions on their soldiers going to more dangerous parts of Afghanistan.

So far only the US and UK have pledged to send more troops. Germany has agreed to send more reconnaissance planes.

Although Nato believes it inflicted serious damage on the Taleban last year, commanders have frequently complained they do not have enough troops or the flexibility to achieve an outright victory.

There has also been frustration at Nato over the slow pace of economic re-development programmes that it believes are needed to convince ordinary Afghans that the continued international presence in the country is worthwhile.






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