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Bush Asserts Progress Against Taliban in Afghanistan; Urges Allies to Stay On

  • VOA News

President Bush says Taliban militants in Afghanistan were hit hard last year during military operations by US, Afghan and NATO troops.

During a news conference Thursday, Mr. Bush said troops were on the offensive against a resurgent and increasingly violent Taliban movement.

The president also expressed concern that NATO allies might tire of what he called the hard work of securing Afghanistan. But he stressed that success is necessary to international security.

In another development, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier in Washington Thursday, and praised the nation's military role in Afghanistan.

Canada has 25-hundred troops in Afghanistan. Seventy of them have been killed in the past year, leading some Canadians to argue that NATO members are not sharing the military burden equally.

Bernier told reporters that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government wants Canadian troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond early 2009, but Bernier noted that the final decision rests with parliament.

Mr. Bush said the US objective is to give NATO allies options -- other than combat missions - in Afghanistan and to remind them that the job of securing the strife-torn country will take time.

This week, the US military said it is going to assess coalition strategy in Afghanistan in the wake of rising Taliban attacks.

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