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The NATO Secretary-General warned that insurgents would exploit gaps in peacekeeping (file photo) (AFP) 9 January 2006 -- NATO urged the Dutch parliament today to approve a government plan to send 1,400 more troops to Afghanistan, warning that insurgents would exploit any delays in efforts to step up peacekeeping.


NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters in Brussels that the Dutch contribution would be vital, adding, "Let's not grant the Taliban victory."


He said he hopes the Netherlands can make its decision before an international conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan in London at the end of the month.


NATO is looking to raise its troop numbers in Afghanistan by 6,000 to more than 15,000.


Britain and Canada have also said they are ready to help in the expansion, to ease the burden on the larger U.S.-led coalition there.


(Reuters/AFP/AP)

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