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Residents of NATO countries "need to understand" that the alliance isn't engaged in a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Rice said Wednesday. She told a news conference in London that NATO is in a long, difficult fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists. Rice is seeking to repair a rift among NATO allies whose participation in Afghanistan has been unequal. The US and Britain supply more than half of the 42,000 NATO troops there.

Angry opposition leaders in Kenya threatened new protests to block a meeting of African foreign ministers because it could be seen as official approval of President Mwai Kibaki's disputed reelection. The opposition complained that it hadn't been consulted about the gathering, although ex-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, mediating talks between Kibaki and challenger Raila Odinga, had pledged that no such meeting would take place until all sides were notified.

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