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NATO chief on Afghanistan: We're not running from the fight

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The new head of NATO is set to argue today that the multilateral force is not running from the fight in Afghanistan. In his first major US speech as NATO's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen will be addressing US doubts over alliance efforts in the South Asian nation as it reels from weekend attacks and the White House weighs critical next steps in the eight-year war.

A car bomb targeting the Afghan energy minister Sunday left him alive but killed four civilians. The NATO-led force reported the same day that three soldiers, including two Americans, had also been killed in separate insurgent attacks.

Similar incidents occur almost daily and have drained American and European support for the war. But Mr. Rasmussen is determined to emphasize the positive in his speech at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington this afternoon. He'll aim to ramp up support and halt criticism that US allies are not doing their share, according to Reuters:

[Rasmussen], in prepared remarks seen by Reuters, will acknowledge the need for more resources to battle the Taliban in the face of mounting Western casualties and fading public support for the war ...
"Talking down the European and Canadian contributions – as some here in the US do, on occasion – can become a self-fulfilling prophesy."
In the speech, he points to 9,000 additional non-US troops who have joined the Afghan effort in the past 18 months, saying "the allies are not running from the fight, despite the conventional wisdom."

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