Nato chief says there is no alternative to staying in Afghanistan

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Damien McElroy
The Telegraph
November 16, 2010

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Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the Lisbon summit of Nato members that begins on Friday would commit the alliance to train and support Afghan troops battling the Taliban in substantial numbers through to the 2014 deadline for local forces to take over security.

His comments came as Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, said intrusive foreign military operations in Afghan communities were exacerbating the threat from the Taliban. Mr Rasmussen, however, said that Nato operations were crucial to bringing the Taliban to heel and for the talks that are considered essential for a lasting solution.

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“I consider it of utmost importance to continue our military operations, because the fact is that it is the increasing military pressure on the Taliban and the Taliban leadership that has stimulated the reconciliation talks,” Mr Rasmussen said. “So there is no alternative to continuing the military operations.”

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