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26 April 2004 -- NATO today said it has "essentially approved" plans to expand its role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force currently has some 6,500 troops in Kabul and commands a German-led civilian-military reconstruction team in the northern town of Konduz.
NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alessandro Minuto Rizzo said today in Kabul that the alliance wants to establish and take command of five more Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan.
"The council of NATO essentially approved a plan to expand the activities of NATO in the north and then afterward in the west of country, especially through the instrument of the PRTs," Rizzo said. "Of course, this comes from the good results obtained with the pilot project in Kunduz which was opened at the beginning of January."
Rizzo declined to say how many troops the new reconstruction effort would require.
Rizzo was in Kabul together with a delegation of ambassadors to the North Atlantic Council, NATO's top decision-making body.
The NATO delegation today also met with Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai.