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NATO Chief Affirms Commitment to Democracy in Afghanistan

  • VOA News

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has vowed that NATO will keep defending democracy in Afghanistan.

He also expressed sadness over the recent deaths of Afghan civilians.

De Hoop Scheffer met Friday with President Bush at the White House to discuss NATO's peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia next month.

The NATO head said the alliance is up to the challenge of defending democratic values, with 50-thousand troops on three continents. He said terrorism, proliferation, and failed and failing states are threats NATO faces on a global scale.

Mr. Bush said he plans to remind NATO members at the upcoming summit that there is still much work to be done in what he called "the noble cause of peace."

Afghan officials say at least 60 civilians were killed in NATO operations this week. NATO officials say 12 civilians died, and that it is not clear if they were killed because of NATO or Taleban action.

NATO heads of state are expected to discuss expansion of the 26-nation force at the summit.

De Hoop Scheffer came to Washington from Moscow, where he met with President Vladimir Putin, the Russian defense minister and several top lawmakers.
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