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NATO 'Not Deterred' By Taliban Violence


http://gdb.rferl.org/B6B39BB7-D3C2-4AE6-AFE5-5E301FBE43F9_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/B6B39BB7-D3C2-4AE6-AFE5-5E301FBE43F9_mw800_mh600.jpg NATO's de Hoop Scheffer (left) with President Karzai in Kabul on September 6 (epa) September 6, 2006 -- NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said today the alliance would not be deterred by the resurgence of Taliban militants in Afghanistan's south.

De Hoop Scheffer also said the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would go ahead with plans to take over from U.S.-led coalition forces in the east.

De Hoop Scheffer, who is on a three-day visit to Afghanistan, made the pledge in an address to the country's legislature.

"Ongoing violence in some areas of the country, as we are experiencing and witnessing today, will not deter NATO from carrying out its mission," he added. "Indeed, NATO-ISAF will continue to engage the enemy militarily, alongside Afghan security forces, if need be, and also in this respect, NATO-ISAF and the Afghan National Army are working together."

Afghan parliament speaker Yunos Qanuni asked de Hoop Scheffer to ensure that NATO troops avoid civilian casualties while fighting Taliban fighters.

Qanuni warned that harming civilians could be used by militants to turn the public against the Afghan government.

Earlier today, NATO's secretary-general and President Hamid Karzai signed an agreement to boost security and development in Afghanistan.

De Hoop Scheffer is traveling with a delegation of NATO ambassadors and the alliance's top commander, U.S. General James Jones.

(Reuters, AP, AFP)
The Afghan Insurgency

A U.S. military vehicle damaged by insurgents near Kandahar (epa)

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