NATO's top official has finished a two-day visit to Afghanistan, where he pledged that international forces are committed to staying in the country until the Afghan government and military are ready to take over.
At a joint news conference in Kabul with President Hamid Karzai, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO will "focus much more" on protecting the population, roads and development projects in 2010.
Rasmussen said the NATO mission is entering a new phase with the addition of almost 40,000 additional troops. He said the mission will bring more security to the Afghan people and turn over more and more responsibility to the Afghan government.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Defense Tuesday announced the deployment of some 6,000 additional forces to Afghanistan as part of the 30,000 authorized by President Barack Obama at the end of November.
Separately, the British military says one of its soldiers was shot and killed in the Sangin district of southern Helmand province late Monday in a possible friendly fire incident. The military says it is also looking into whether the death of a soldier in Helmand on Sunday was also caused by friendly fire.
Meanwhile, NATO forces say Afghan-led forces killed "a few" militants and detained another in operations in Ghazni province Monday night.
In Kandahar province, a NATO statement said a joint security force killed a couple of militants while pursuing a Taliban commander.
In other news, President Karzai said Tuesday he is ordering the government to investigate the death of his 18-year old cousin. The New York Times newspaper reported earlier this week that relatives of Waheed Karzai believe his shooting death in October (in Kandahar province) may have been a revenge killing by another relative.
The accusers say they believe their relatives are protecting the killer.