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NATO Agrees to Widen Security Net in Afghanistan

NATO agreed in principle Friday to take command of military-backed reconstruction teams in five Afghan towns as part of a drive to extend the stabilizing influence of its Kabul-based peacekeeping force. But the alliance, which is struggling to provide enough helicopters and intelligence officers even for the existing force of 5,700 troops in the capital, said its mission would be expanded only if military resources were available. “There is … a decision in principle that we will take in, step by step, up to five other Provincial Reconstruction Teams and at the moment we are establishing what number of troops would be required to do that,” Secretary-General George Robertson told a news conference. “We have also decided in principle that we won’t do anything unless we are able to provide the troops to make sure that these PRTs are going to be effective,” he added. Full Story

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